Meralco eyes a return trip to the finals with a sweep of Star in Game 3 of their best-of-five semifinals series in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governors’ Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts are holding a 2-0 advantage in the series after routing the Hotshots in Game 2 (98-74) and a win in their 7 p.m. encounter will lead them back to the best-of-seven championship showdown.
Coach Norman Black of Meralco expects Star to bounce back strong as the Hotshots are trying to stay alive in the series.
“We will just give our best to finish it in Game 3. Star is more of capable of bouncing back so we have to be ready mentally,” said Black.
Unlike in their come-from-behind 76-66 win in Game 1, the Bolts were able to break the full-court defense of the Hotshots in Game 2 resulting in more treys (14-7) and assists (28-11) compared to the Star.
“Our ability to break their full court pressure will once again be a big key to the game (Game 3),” black added.
Veteran Ranidel De Ocampo delivered his best game donning a Meralco uniform with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field including three triples while import Allen Durham also registered 18 markers and grabbed 25 rebounds.
Jared Dillinger also had a solid Game 2 with 18 points for the Bolts.
Star’s chances of staying alive in the series took a blow when Paul Lee was declared out of the series due to a nagging left knee injury.
Still, the Hotshots are not losing hope and they are keen on extending the series to Game 4.
“We are going to fight till the end and we’re not going to give this game to them although they (Meralco) are too strong,” said Star team governor Rene Pardo.
Hotshots import Kris Acox had another poor outing in Game 2 with nine points and 12 rebounds. In Game 1, Acox was held down to just seven markers though he had 16 boards.