Meralco tries to extend its unbeaten start to three games as it battles sister team TNT KaTropa in the main game of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Commissioner’s Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts will clash with KaTropa at 7 p.m. with the latter parading National Basketball Association (NBA) veteran Lou Amundson as their import.
Amundson is a 10-year NBA veteran and played with 12 teams in the big league, the last one with the New York Knicks last season. He had career averages of 3.7 points and 3.6 rebounds in 428 NBA games.
The former University of Nevada Las Vegas standout was a late replacement of Denzel Bowles, who was sent home by the TNT management.
In the first game, NLEX and Mahindra will collide at 4:15 p.m. in a battle of winless teams.
Focus will be on Amundson, who will be tested by the streaking Bolts. Meralco downed the Floodbuster (94-86) and the Road Warriors (91-84) to share the top spot with Rain or Shine and Alaska.
“It will be a difficult game because we are going up against one of the best teams in the league,” said Black.
“It also doesn’t help that we have not seen their import play. We will just continue to focus in on playing sound defense in trying to get the win,” he added.
Alex Stepheson will be tasked to defend Amundson, who was measured at 6-foot-8. Stepheson has been consistent both on offense and defense for Meralco in his first two games with the squad.
KaTropa are making a debut this conference after losing to San Miguel Beer in the semifinals of the Philippine Cup.
“It is very important to start well this conference,” said Racela. “Had some import problems early on but hoping we could now move forward with Lou Amundson.”
Meanwhile, Mahindra and NLEX gun for their first win in the tournament. Both teams are holding identical 0-2 win-loss slates.
Floodbuster assistant coach Chris Gavina hopes his players have learned their lessons in their 95-99 overtime loss to Rain or Shine.
“I pointed out three plays in which we allowed Rain or Shine three straight opportunities to score points at the foul line without having any time come off the clock,” said Gavina.
“I told them we need to display a more disciplined approach when it comes to the end game,” he added.