No plan to reinstate banned Nabong despite Meralco size disadvantage vs Ginebra
Kelly Nabong has been suspended indefinitely by Meralco management after a feud with Bolts assistant coach Jimmy Alapag during a semifinal game. Jerome Ascano

MERALCO will be sticking with its undersized frontline when it takes on a towering Barangay Ginebra in their PBA Governors’ Cup Finals rematch starting on Friday night in Lucena.

Bolts coach Norman Black implied that there's no plan to lift the suspension of Kelly Nabong any time soon and remained tightlipped about the commotion between the Filipino-American center and assistant coach Jimmy Alapag in the semifinals that led to the ban.

“There is no update. He’s suspended indefinitely,” Black said after the press launch of the finals on Tuesday at Sambokojin Eastwood. “I can’t really go into full detail about what actually happened, because I would like to consider his privacy as well as the privacy of the team.”

“But some of the things that happened right now, we just want to let things sit for a while, and we’ll just suspend him indefinitely until we have time to take care of the matter,” he added. “Right now, we’re in the middle of a championship series, so it’s not something that we want to deal with this moment.”

The Bolts could use the size and heft of the 6-foot-5 Nabong as they take on a towering Ginebra frontline led by 6-11 Greg Slaughter, 6-9 Japeth Aguilar, 6-7 Joe Devance and 6-5 Justin Brownlee.

Without Nabong, Black will have to make do with a frontcourt rotation that will have Cliff Hodge, Ranidel de Ocampo, Reynel Hugnatan, and Bryan Faundo backing up import Allen Durham.

Black, though, is unperturbed.

“Even if we had Kelly Nabong, we would still have a size disadvantage, so it doesn’t really (matter),” Black said. “Either way, they’re the biggest team in the league, so that size advantage is going to be there no matter what.”

“The key is: can we control our defensive rebounds?” he added. “We’ve been number one on that the entire conference and if we can continue to do that, we’ll be able to compete – whether we have a size disadvantage or not.” 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos