Meralco tries to match its franchise best 5-0 start as it faces Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) in the resumption of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Governor’s Cup today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The leading squad Bolts battle the Road Warriors in the second game at 6:45 p.m. while Rain or Shine meets Kia in the opener at 4:30 p.m.
The Elasto Painters will be parading new players Mark Borboran and Ed Daquiaog, whom they have acquired in separate deals. They lost Jeff Chan (to Phoenix) and Mike Tolomia (to Meralco) in those trades.
Though unbeaten after four starts, the Bolts are wary of NLEX, which is coming off a loss against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel after a 4-0 start.
“Our game against NLEX will be a big test for us because they have been playing well in this conference,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, adding that the Bolts will miss the service of Cliff Hodge due to injury.
“Also, it doesn’t help that Cliff Hodge will miss the game because of a sprained ankle he sustained last game against Kia. So we will have to make adjustments on defense and do a good job on the boards to have a chance of slowing down the high-scoring, fast-pace Road Warriors.”
Meralco import Allen Durham, who finished with a triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists in a 112-97 win over Kia last week, is averaging 24 points, 19.7 rebounds and 8.5 assists in the tournament.
He is expected to take charge and help the Bolts duplicate their 5-0 start they last achieved in the 2016 Commissioner’s Cup.
Meanwhile, the Road Warriors hope to bounce back from a 97-110 loss against the Gin Kings in Calasiao, Pangasinan last week that snapped their four-game winning streak.
Import Aaron Fuller is averaging 25 points and 20 rebounds under head coach Yeng Guiao.
Besides their new recruits, the Elasto Painters are also parading a new import in J’Nathan Bullock against the winless Picanto.
Bullock, who replaced the ineffective import JD Weatherspoon, is hoping to revive their chances in the season-ending conference.
The Elasto Painters are holding a 1-2 win-loss record.
Kia is still searching for its first win in six games. Alaska (0-4) is the other winless team this conference.