Streaking Meralco tries to sustain sizzling start, tests mettle of newcomer Phoenix
Import Arinze Onuaku has a lot to do with Meralco's hot start in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, says big man Cliff Hodge. Jaime Campos

MERALCO tries to sustain its sizzling start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup as it tests the mettle of newcomer Phoenix on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts have already tripled their win total from a disappointing all-Filipino conference as they remained undefeated after three starts following their victory over Rain or Shine last Wednesday.

“The chemistry is great,” Bolts forward Cliff Hodge said. “We’re more relaxed and more confident.”

A major factor is import Arinze Onuaku, a last-minute replacement who came in the nick of time, being a force down low, with the latest evidence a 31-point, 27-rebound performance against the Elasto Painters.

“With Arinze as a natural center, it’s easier for us to get open shots and he fills a big gap with the rebounding,” said the 6-foot-4 Hodge, who is sometimes forced to anchor the paint with the Bolts’ lack of a legitimate big man.

The Bolts latest test are the Fuel Masters, who made a rousing debut with a 118-106 win over NLEX also last Wednesday.

The Fuel Masters, representing the Davao-based company that was named as the league’s newest franchise, have Nigerian big man Kenny Adeleke to match up with Onuaku.

While the Bolts and Fuel Masters are coming off wins, the two teams playing in the main game of the double-header are eager to bounce back from losses.

Rain or Shine, fielding new import Antoine Wright, and Barangay Ginebra, still winless in two outings, face off at 5 p.m.


Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos