Meralco seeks for a first ever finals appearance today when it battles Talk ‘N Text in Game 4 of the best-of-five semifinals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is set at 7 p.m.
After losing Game 1 (113-95), the Bolts came back stronger in the last two games winning Game 2 (106-91) and Game 3 (119-113) behind the explosive performance of import Allen Durham and local players Reynel Hugnatan, Chris Newsome and veteran Jimmy Alapag to seize the series advantage at 2-1.
“It is the first opportunity for us to make the PBA finals so we will go for it,” Meralco grand slam coach Norman Black told The Manila Times via text message. “We understand that Talk ‘N Text is a powerhouse team and they can bounce back so we have to be ready. Defense will be our focus because their offense can explode at anytime.”
A win by the Bolts will send them to first ever championship round since entering the league in 2010.
“I will do my best in Game 4. I will double my effort and take those shots again,” said Hugnatan, who hit five triples in Meralco’s win in Game 3 making them a win a way of entering the finals.
Besides Hugnatan, Alapag and Newsome, the Bolts will rely also on Cliff Hodge, Jonathan Uyloan, Baser Amer, Bryan Faundo and Kelly Nabong. But the Bolts will be playing without Jared Dillinger because of a hamstring injury he sustained in Game 2.
Talk ‘N Text, on the other hand, will do everything what it takes to tie the series to 2-2. Jayson Castro, the team’s leader and leading scorer averaging 23.2 points and 7.5 assists in 12 games, will be spearheading the campaign for the Tropang Texters.
Import Mychal Lemar Ammons, Kelly Williams, rookies Jeth Troy Rosario, Moala Tautuaa and Kris Rosales, Harvey Carey, Larry Fonacier and Syrian Asian import Michael Madanly will be stepping up also for Talk ‘N Text.
It will be frustrating for the No. 1 Talk ‘N Text team if it not to reach the finals after leading the elimination round with 9-2 win-loss record.
JOSEF T. RAMOS