Games Today (Smart Araneta)
4:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Rain or Shine
7 p.m. – Meralco vs NLEX
Meralco received some welcome news ahead of today’s PBA Commissioner’s Cup clash with sister team NLEX at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Not only did the Bolts regain the solo lead after the stunning loss of Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters to the Kia Carnival two days ago, import Josh Davis is expected to play in their 7 p.m. match with the rejuvenated Road Warriors after suffering a hard fall in last week’s game against the San Miguel Beermen.
Bolts Coach Norman Black said yesterday the swelling on Davis’ injured back has already disappeared, ending several days that saw the team fearing for the worst.
“He is still suffering from his hard fall. As of now he should play, no more swelling,” said Black of Davis.
Davis left with seven minutes left in the second quarter of Meralco’s 102-86 defeat to San Miguel in Cagayan de Oro City on a stretcher after landing hard on his back following a collision with June Mar Fajardo. An MRI later revealed that there was no fracture on Davis’ lower back.
It was Meralco’s first loss after the starting the conference with five straight victories. The Bolts are itching to regain their winning form against the Road Warriors.
However, Black has warned that NLEX is determined to pull off the upset.
The Road Warriors are coming off a 100-93 victory over the Beermen when they erased a 21-point third quarter deficit.
“We’re looking to bounce back from our setback versus SMB last game, and stay on top of the standings. It will be tough because NLEX is coming off of a moral boosting win over SMB,” said Black.
Al Thornton collected 30 points and 12 rebounds, while center Asi Taulava and Jonas Villanueva added 20 and 15 points, respectively, as NLEX finally completed a big comeback after falling short in its 98-96 defeat to TNT.
“Meralco will be a dangerous team,” said NLEX Coach Boyet Fernandez.
“With Davis playing, it will be a tough one. We have to play the whole game from start to finish, not the time that we are already down by so many points. Defense will still be crucial for us for we need to stop Meralco offensively,” he added. (Waylon Galvez)