Meralco goes for the incentive in the quarterfinals stage with a win against the resurgent Alaska side in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 42 Governors’ Cup today at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts, who are sporting a 6-2 win-loss record, and the Aces clash in the opener at 4:15 p.m. while the Star hopes to snap a three-game losing streak with a win against GlobalPort at 7 p.m.
Meralco parades veteran forward Ranidel De Ocampo, whom the team acquired in a three-way trade involving Phoenix and TNT KaTropa last Monday, and his inclusion is very timely as the Bolts are up against the rejuvenated Alaska side.
“Alaska is on a roll so we must be well prepared. Our ability to handle their full court pressure will be one of the keys for us,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.
“Keeping them off the offensive glass will also be important. Once again we will rely on our defense to try and get the win,” he added.
A win by Meralco will put them in a tie with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for the top spot and more importantly allow them to grab the twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.
Reigning Best Import Allen Durham, who is averaging 27.8 points, 20 rebounds and 6.7 assists, once again will lead the charge of the Bolts. They are coming off a 96-90 win over Star last Saturday.
Calvin Abueva and import LaDontae Henton have been carrying the Aces in the last three games that put them back in the hunt for a quarterfinals slot with a 3-6 slate.
Abueva is averaging 16 points and 10.5 rebounds while Henton’s is 29.5 points and 12.4 boards per contest.
After a terrible 0-6 start, Alaska has won its last three games against San Miguel Beer (90-79), GlobalPort (101-88) and Kia (102-94).
Meanwhile, the Hotshots are also parading new recruits in Bam Gamalinda and Kyle Pascual as they take on the Batang Pier.
The Star (4-3) and GlobalPort (3-5) are fighting for a spot in the next round.
JOSEF T. RAMOS