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PBA: Bolts hope to stay on fire against Batang Pier

Games Today
(Mall of Asia Arena)
4:15 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Meralco
7 p.m. – Star vs TNT KaTropa

Emboldened by its impressive win over Alaska after a 15-day break, the Meralco Bolts hope to extend their winning streak to four games when they battle the GlobalPort Batang Pier in the PBA Commissioner Cup today at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

Thanks to TNT KaTropa’s 112-103 win over erstwhile unbeaten San Miguel Beer, the Bolts have the chance to bolster their hold of the solo lead if they beat the Batang Pier in their 4:15 showdown.

The Bolts are sporting a 7-1 card following their 99-91 win over the Aces.

TNT, on the other hand, tries to follow up its massive win over the Beermen when it collides with Star at 7 p.m.

With a third-best 6-2 mark, the KaTropa need to win today’s match to have a better position in the playoffs.

Though it has a better chance to make it to the playoffs, the Hotshots still hired Ricardo Ratliffe to replace Tony Mitchell.

Star and TNT are tied for fourth and fifth places with 6-2 records after the Hotshots downed the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 99-93, last Saturday in Batangas City, while the KaTropa edged the Beermen, 112-103, last Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The double-header will be the league’s final two matches before it takes a break starting Friday to give way to the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship where Gilas Pilipinas will compete.

After losing to San Miguel last April 2, Meralco downed Phoenix Fuel (81-66), and Blackwater (102-91) before taking a long break.

In their last three victories, Meralco coach Norman Black credited the team’s solid defensive rotation rather than their offense.

“Defensively we were pretty sharp. Offensively, we have a little bit of work to do,” said Black, whose team’s win against the Aces gave them outright playoff ticket. “But I’m happy with our defense.”

Meralco, which made the semifinals of this same conference last season, will continue to rely on import Alexander Stepheson, one of the favorites to capture the Best Import award after averaging nearly 18 points and 21.75 rebounds through eight games.

Aside from the 6-foot-8 Stepheson, Black can also count on the vastly improving guard Baser Amer who recently won the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honor after averaging 16.5 points.

On hand to provide additional firepower are Jared Dillinger, Chris Newsome, Reynel Hugnatan and rookie Ed Daquioag.

The Batang Pier should play with a sense of urgency this time following a stinging defeat it suffered at the hands of the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

The Batang Pier were leading most the way until they suffered a power outage and dropped to 2-7.

The Batang Pier will continue to miss the services of ace guard Terrence Romeo, currently with Gilas Pilipinas training for the SEABA tournament this week at the Big Dome.

Without Romeo, import Malcolm White, guard Stanley Pringle and new recruits Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto and rookie Jonathan Grey must double their effort to end a slump.

Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship where Gilas Pilipinas will compete.

After losing to San Miguel last April 2, Meralco downed Alaska (99-91), and Blackwater (102-91) before taking a long break.

In their last three victories, Meralco coach Norman Black credited the team’s solid defensive rotation rather than their offense.

“Defensively we were pretty sharp. Offensively, we have a little bit of work to do,” said Black, whose team’s win against the Aces gave them outright playoff ticket. “But I’m happy with our defense.”

Meralco, which made the semifinals of this same conference last season, will continue to rely on import Alexander Stepheson, one of the favorites to capture the Best Import award after averaging nearly 18 points and 21.75 rebounds through eight games.

Aside from the 6-foot-8 Stepheson, Black can also count on the vastly improving guard Baser Amer who recently won the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honor after averaging 16.5 points.

On hand to provide additional firepower are Jared Dillinger, Chris Newsome, Reynel Hugnatan and rookie Ed Daquioag.

The Batang Pier should play with a sense of urgency this time following a stinging defeat it suffered at the hands of the Phoenix Fuel Masters.

The Batang Pier were leading most the way until they suffered a power outage and dropped to 2-7.

The Batang Pier will continue to miss the services of ace guard Terrence Romeo, currently with Gilas Pilipinas training for the SEABA tournament this week at the Big Dome.

Without Romeo, import Malcolm White, guard Stanley Pringle and new recruits Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto and rookie Jonathan Grey must double their effort to end a slump.

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