RYAN Gregorio refuses to be deceived by San Mig Super Coffee’s abysmal record to start the PBA’s 39th season.
Ranged against a tall San Mig frontline, Gregorio said Meralco will try to maximize its quickness and perimeter shooting once more as the Bolts shoot for win No. 3 on Wednesday in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The clash between the Mixers and the Bolts starts at 8 p.m.
The Bolts are coming off a painful 89-93 loss to the streaking GlobalPort Batang Pier last weekend and are hoping to get back on track.
“A must to bounce back. We were derailed in our last game (against GlobalPort). We went back to earth in a loud thud after the win against Ginebra,” explained Gregorio.
“That last defeat gave us a strong lesson, that in the PBA, there is no place for complacency.”
Meralco will continue to miss injured forwards Cliff Hodge and Reynel Hugnatan, who sustained sprained ankles early in the season, while offseason acquisition Kerby Raymundo remains out of commission as well owing to a left knee injury.
The Bolts, who carry a 2-3 record, will be facing the Mixers (1-4), whose injured players are slowly healing up.
Superstar James Yap is expected to play after missing the past two games due to inflammation on his right elbow. Team physical therapist Arcee Cua said the two-time PBA MVP will be wearing a protective sleeve to ease the pain.
Joe Devance, who missed the team’s first four games, returned in San Mig’s 83-86 loss to Rain or Shine last week.
Peter June Simon is also slowly returning to form after missing the team’s first three games due to an injured achilles.
Gregorio said San Mig is expected to get better, given its rich history of bouncing back from bad starts the past seasons.
“San Mig is bound to get better. They usually start this way but they will find their bearings along the way,” he said.
“We must not let their 1-4 mark deceive us. They are a strong team and we are not coming in as the heavy favorites. With our players down with injuries, we must find ways to compete and win,” he added.
San Mig coach Tim Cone said with the way the team is losing this season, the Mixers will have to seriously find ways on how they could climb out of the hole.
“Certainly, we need some momentum this conference. We just need to keep climbing the hole because we don’t want to be twice to beat,” said the multi-titled Cone.