Skidding teams Meralco and Kia Motors collide as they enter final stretch of Philippine Cup elims
Coach Norman Black is convinced they can still catch up with the leaders with a few games left in the eliminations. Dante Peralta

MERALCO looks to arrest a two-game skid and Kia Motors hopes to finally end an eight-game losing run as the Bolts and Sorento clash on Wednesday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Although the Bolts have suffered back-to-back losses, coach Norman Black is still convinced they can make it to the top half of the quarterfinal cast and get some advantage over the tailenders in the first phase of the playoffs.

“It’s a must-win situation because it’s our last chance to stay in the running for the twice-to-beat advantage,” said Black.

The Bolts are in eighth place with a 4-5 win-loss card, just below the GlobalPort Batang Pier at 5-5.

[See Fajardo and rookie Pascual show way in emphatic San Miguel Beer win over Meralco]

Black also noted that Kia indeed gets a big boost with the presence of playing coach Manny Pacquiao and reiterated what other teams have said before, that the Sorento cannot be taken lightly.

“Kia showed in their last game against Purefoods that they can compete with any team so we must be ready,” said Black.

Kia and Meralco collide at 4:15 p.m.

[See Gary David down with the flu, remains doubtful for Meralco game against Kia]

The Sorento, meanwhile, need to win its remaining games to have a chance of making it to the next phase of the tournament.

Sorento team manager Eric Pineda said whether they make it to the playoffs or not, they wouldn’t want to put additional pressure on the players already.

“Basta laro na lang kami, kasi kung iisipin pa naming iyan baka makagulo sa amin,” said Pineda. “Pag manalo, eh baka bukas pa ang pintuan para sa amin.”

Pacquiao, one week removed from a successful title-retention of his world welterweight title belt against Chris Algieri in Macau, is expected to play for KIA.

[See Kia vows playing-coach Manny Pacquiao will play in final make-or-break PBA games]

The 5-foot-6 Pacquiao suited up against Purefoods Star, but decided not to play at the last-minute.

His presence, however, buoyed up the Sorento, who led by as many as nine points late in the third quarter, before folding in the final period in the face of the Hotshots’ torrid endgame run.

[See Purefoods wakes up in the nick of time to survive scare from Pacquiao's inspired KIA side]




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