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PBA: Bolts seek big start

Games Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs Blackwater
7 p.m. – GlobalPort vs Rain or Shine

Rain or Shine tests GlobalPort.

The Meralco Bolts eye an auspicious start to their bid to bounce back from last year’s finals setback when they take on the Blackwater Elite today in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Meralco enters the 4:15 p.m. contest with reigning Best Import Allen Durham back, who is hoping to complete some unfinished business after a six-game loss to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the season-ending conference the previous year.

Meralco head coach Norman Black (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Meralco head coach Norman Black (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Another motivation for the Bolts is their eagerness to recover from their failed semis bid in the Commissioner’s Cup.

A costly turnover by Chris Newsome allowed TNT KaTropa to win their hard-fought quarterfinal series.

“Expectations are there for our team with Allen coming back, considering we did make the finals with him last year and he was the Best Import, and we hope that Allen will be a big factor for us this conference,” said Bolts coach Norman Black.

Black is also banking on his locals to step up, particularly playmaker Baser Amer, who is coming off a breakthrough conference that enabled him to secure a spot in the Gilas Pilipinas pool.

The Bolts will be hard-pressed to start their campaign on a high note against an Elite team which will be without Gilas Pilipinas member Mac Belo because of the ongoing William Jones Cup stint in Taiwan and Art dela Cruz, who was listed out for the whole conference due to an Achilles injury.

High-flying import Trevis Simpson will be tasked to carry much of the load for the Elite, who are out to improve on their dismal 2-9 showing last conference.

Meeting in the second game at 7 p.m. are the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and GlobalPort Batang Pier, two teams also seeking improvements following their early exits last conference.

Rain or Shine will parade 24-year-old JD Weatherspoon as it tries to make the semis after quarterfinal losses in the season’s first two conferences.

GlobalPort is going to have Jabril Trawick, a former college teammate of ex-TNT KaTropa import Joshua Smith at Georgetown, to reinforce the team led by ace scorer Terrence Romeo.

The Batang Pier barely made the playoffs last conference before being eliminated by Ginebra in the quarters.

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