Meralco goes for back-to-back wins on short rest as Bolts battle Purefoods Hotshots
Coaches Tim Cone and Norman Black clash anew, but this time the former has a rebranded squad in Purefoods and the latter heads a Meralco team he took over only recently. Jerome Ascano

A REVITALIZED Meralco squad tries to get a win run going when it faces defending champion Purefoods Star on Sunday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

The Bolts are fresh from a morale-boosting 109-99 spanking of the Ginebra Gin Kings on Friday in Antipolo City, snapping a two-game slide in the process while keeping alive their flickering hopes for a top two finish.

[See Meralco pulls off shocker to arrest two-game slide and send Ginebra to second straight loss]

“Going up against the defending champions on one day rest is going to be tough,” Meralco coach Norman Black said, on the eve of his team’s 5:15 p.m. game.

The multi-titled Black said protecting the painted area is a must if they want to stand a chance at beating the Hotshots (3-3), who registered their first back-to-back victories this season after walloping winless Blackwater Elite last Tuesday.

“The main key will be our ability to protect our painted area defensively because Purefoods loves to attack the inside,” explained Black.

“Offensively, it would be a big boost if we can get our outside shots to fall like they did against Ginebra.”

Meantime, the Hotshots’ defense improved dramatically over the last two games.

After giving up 86 points against their opponents during their 1-3 start this season, Purefoods Star managed to tighten its defense, limiting its last two opponents to just 78 points per contest.

Purefoods Star dumped NLEX, 92-76, before beating Blackwater, 90-82, last Tuesday.

[See Tim Cone far from happy, but Purefoods still too good for woeful Blackwater]

“It’s a big chance to move up in the standings for us. Meralco was great against the Gin Kings but they will be tough,” noted Purefoods coach Tim Cone.

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