• Bolts brace for Road Warriors

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    Leading team Meralco aims to bounce back from its previous loss when it faces Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) today in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

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    The Bolts will battle the Road Warriors in the first game at 4:15 p.m. followed by the 7 p.m. match between Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and Philippine Cup back-to-back champions San Miguel Beermen.Despite their loss to the Beermen in Legazpi City on Saturday, the Bolts are still enjoying the No. 1 spot with a 5-1win-loss record.

    “We will put all our efforts into trying to bounce back from our loss to SMB. NLEX is a high scoring team, so we will put a premium on our defense as well as rebounding,” said coach Norman Black via text message. “The number one problem will be how to slow down Al Thornton.”

    “Our plan is to bounce back [against NLEX], and there’s nothing else. We just have to adjust on our offensive sets and improve everything especially our defense,” added Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo.

    Meralco’s 6’8 import Arinze Onuaku, rookie Chris Newsome, Bryan Faundo, Cliff Hodge, Reynel Hugnatan, Gary David, rookie Baser Amer, Jimmy Alapag, Anjo Caram and Jared Dillinger are all fired up to post a win anew for their team.

    “We are always ready every game. It is a matter for us to execute our game plan,” NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said.

    “Even though they’ve lost their last game, Meralco remains on top. They are the best defensive team in the league so far. For us to steal the game from them, we need to match up their energy in both defense and offense. Tough match-up but we are ready,” Fernandez added.

    The Road Warriors, who are still reeling from a 94-121 loss to the Elasto Painters last week pin their hope to Al Thornton, Kevin Alas, center Paul Asi Taulava, Jonas Villanueva, Garvo Lanete, Simon Enciso, forward Sean Anthony and Enrico Villanueva. NLEX is holding a 2-3 win-loss record.

    San Miguel Beer, meanwhile, is aiming for its fourth consecutive win when it battles Rain or Shine. The Beermen, with a 3-1 win-loss record at No.3, will be relying on sharp shooting import Tyler Wilkerson.

    Local players June Mar Fajardo, Chris Ross, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, Ronald Tubid, Ryan Arana and Gabby Espinas will support Wilkerson.

    The Elasto Painters hold a 2-3 card.

    JOSEF RAMOS

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