MERALCO seeks to continue riding its early momentum in the PBA Governors’ Cup as it tangles with Kia on Sunday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in the last game before the conferences heads into an almost week-long break.
The Bolts, the losing finalist in the last edition of the season-ending conference, have won their first three games and found themselves sharing the top spot with Star as the remaining two teams with unscathed records after NLEX lost to Ginebra on Saturday.
Now, the Bolts shoot for their fourth straight win and the solo lead as they face a winless Picanto side at 6:45 p.m.
“It’s too early in the conference and we can’t think too far ahead, but as a coach, I also try to express this to my players – you always want to look at the format of the league, because it changes, and we ended up one game short of getting a twice-to-beat advantage last conference,” Bolts coach Norman Black reminded.
The Bolts lost three of their last four games in the eliminations of the midseason tournament to finish at 7-4 and squander a Top Two spot for the fifth seed, settling for a best-of-three quarterfinal matchup against sister squad TNT.
“So just trying to express to them the importance of trying to get as many wins as possible early, because it always seems like you’re going to bump into a road somewhere down the line,” Black said after his team blew past Rain or Shine, 89-73, last Saturday.
Allen Durham, who registered 23 points and the same number of rebounds against the E-painters, continues to anchor the Bolts’ attack as he matches up with Markeith Cummings, who tries to lead the Picanto to their first win in five games.
Former NLEX import Bill Walker is set to make his debut for Blackwater and will try to steer his new team also to the winning column after losing its first three games, taking on Eugene Phelps and Phoenix in the first game at 4:30 p.m.