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PBA: Kings face Bolts

Greg Slaughter vs Mark Macapagal

Manila, Philippines – Barangay Ginebra San Miguel tries to follow up its impressive victory under rookie coach Jeff Cariaso when the Kings face the winless Meralco Bolts today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Now running Cariaso’s more disciplined but intricate triangle offense instead of the usual ‘run and gun’ style, Ginebra scored a masterful 89-71 victory over Globalport last Tuesday to start its campaign in the season-ending conference of the PBA.

The game is set at 5:15 p.m. with the Bolts hoping to break a two-game losing skid.

Air21 is also aiming for its second win and a share of the lead when it takes on Barako Bull in the opening game at 2:45 p.m. The Express are coming off a 103-96 win over Rain or Shine last Tuesday.

“It’s a big test for us as we try to continue to improve as a team,” said Cariaso, who was hired after spending time as Tim Cone’s assistant at San Mig Super Coffee.

“The most important thing is that players are working hard to learn the system,” Cariaso added. Four players scored in double-digit against the Batang Pier with import Zach Mason collecting 21 points with 15 rebounds. Seven-foot rookie center Greg Slaughter added 19 points and 17 boards, while Mark Caguioa and Chris Ellis made 15 and 10 points, respectively.

Ginebra is looking to equal or outdo its 36-of-76 (47.4%) shooting, 60-32 rebounding edge, and 17-assist effort from the previous game. But Cariaso wants his team to limit their turnovers, after losing the ball 21 times against Globalport.

Meanwhile, Meralco opened the conference with a 95-94 loss to Barako Bull, following by a 105-99 setback to sister team Talk ‘N Text.

Bolts import Terrence Williams has averaged 19.5 points and 12 rebounds, but is shooting a dismal 7-of-29 from three-point territory.

Despite Williams’ shooting woes, Meralco is keeping its faith on the former NBA cager.

“We’ve been competing hard but just could not finish games on a high note,” said Meralco mentor Ryan Gregorio. “It’s really more us than them. I thought the last two games we could have turned the outcome around but just couldn’t pull through.”

“We try again. It is not that we are playing without effort, I think it is more like getting too ahead of ourselves and not yet playing intelligently to close it out,” added Gregorio. (Waylon Galvez)