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PBA: Bolts eye solo lead

Joshua DavisGames Today (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – Globalport vs Alaska

Meralco mentor Norman Black has a simple blueprint on how to beat Rain or Shine.

Stop Paul Lee. Stop Rick Jackson.

The two ROS players will be the prime targets of Meralco’s defense as the Bolts shoot for their fourth win in as many games in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Our post defense against Jackson and perimeter defense versus Paul Lee will be keys for us to get a win,” Black said after the team’s practice session yesterday at the Meralco Gym in Pasig City.

Meralco is currently tied for the lead with defending champion Purefoods Star and the surprising Barako Bull all with 3-0 slates. The Bolts are coming off a 91-83 win against Talk ’N Text last Wednesday.

The game between Meralco and Rain or Shine is scheduled at 4:15 p.m. Clashing at 7 p.m. are Globalport and Alaska.

Black’s team will face a Rain or Shine side that has won back-to-back games following a setback versus TNT. ROS defeated NLEX (96-91) and Globalport (104-98).

Against the Batang Pier, the 6-foot-1 Lee matched his conference high of 25 points on 5-of-9 shooting from three-point range along with a perfect 10-of-10 shooting from the foul line.

Lee also had 25 points in ROS’s triumph opposite the NLEX Road Warriors.

The 6-foot-8 Jackson, on the other hand, collected 16 points and 18 rebounds while adding six assists and two blocked shots.

Aside from their objective to limit the productions of Lee and Jackson, Black said they should also try to prevent Rain or Shine from dictating the tempo with its run and gun style of play.

“In our game versus Rain or Shine, everything will be about our ability to handle their pace. We must get back and slow down their tradition plays,” said Black, whose team has held its first three opponents to 79 points while scoring an average of 90 points this conference.

“On offense, we just want to continue to have balance and get contributions from everyone,” he added.

On the other hand, Alaska, runner-up to San Miguel Beer during the previous Philippine Cup, tries to win back-to-back games after beating NLEX (96-95) last Saturday for a 1-1 record.

Globalport, meanwhile, aims to end a two-game skid after winning its first game against Kia (100-89). The Batang Pier will parade a new import in Calvin Warner, who will replace CJ Leslie.