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Bolts return to action, clash with KaTropa
Games today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – TNT KaTropa vs Meralco
7 p.m. – San Miguel vs Rain or Shine
MANILA, Philippines — Meralco finally comes back from a long 18-day respite Wednesday night, looking to keep a front-running position as it tangles with TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts and the Texters clash at 4:15 p.m. preceding an equally crucial setto at 7 p.m. between the grand slam-chasing San Miguel Beermen and the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
“We are coming off a long break so it will be interesting how we respond,” said coach Norman Black whose troops are playing a first game after topping the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 107-104, on Aug. 18 to make same distance from the rest of the field.
But a good number of other ball clubs also have hit their strides, creating a heavy jam at least in the middle of the standings and indicating an interesting fight for the Top Four and the four other spots in the quarterfinals.
The Bolts (5-1) are determined to keep their winning ways in chase of a Top Four finish which rewards a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarters.
But they’re facing a tough challenge in their return from a long hiatus.
“The Tropa are coming off a loss so they will be raring to bounce back. We will just focus on our defense and try to slow down the high scoring TNT team,” said Black.
Meanwhile, though a game up on the Beermen (3-3), the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (4-2) still consider themselves the decided underdogs in their crucial match.
“We can’t be complacent only because San Miguel lost two straight games,” said ROS coach Caloy Garcia. “They are still the team to beat this conference. Their import would have already adjusted so we are expecting that he would play better this time around and we just have to be ready.”
The Beermen will be out to check a two-game skid, hoping they draw the best from new import Terik Bridgeman in his second game in the local pro league.
San Miguel dropped its last game versus Alaska Milk, 79-90, on Saturday in Angeles City, with coach Leo Austria opting to sit out Bridgeman in the entire second half.
Bridgeman, a replacement to Wendell McKines, committed six turnovers and converted just one of four shots in the first half.
The Beermen failed to win with an all-Filipino lineup and allowed the Aces to end a long 14-game winless spell from the last conference.
But June Mar Fajardo and his teammates have to recall their old form or they might fall deeper in the bottom half of the team standings. They’re currently at eighth place at 3-3, just half-game ahead of GlobalPort (3-4).
The E-Painters can well pose a tough challenge especially as they’re on a hot run with wins over Star (92-88), TNT KaTropa (105-73) and Kia (94-86) in their last three games.