By JONAS TERRADO
Allen Durham and the Meralco Bolts launch their bid for redemption as they face the Columbian Dyip at the start of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
The reigning two-time Best Import of the season-ending conference is back for some unfinished business and hopes to give the Bolts a winning start in their 4:30 p.m. match against the Dyip.
Facing in the second game at 7 p.m. are TNT KaTropa and the NLEX Road Warriors, who will be handled on an interim basis by Jojo Lastimosa in lieu of coach Yeng Guiao.
Guiao is currently in Jakarta coaching the Rain or Shine-led national team in the Indonesia Asian Games.
Meralco has reached the finals of the last two editions of the Governors’ Cup but fell both times to Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
Coach Norman Black is glad to have Durham back and lead the Bolts’ quest to finally reach the mountaintop but he is also banking on Baser Amer, Jared Dillinger, Cliff Hodge and Ranidel de Ocampo to also step up.
Out to spoil the fun for Meralco is Columbian, which will play its first game under new coach Johnedel Cardel.
Cardel was tapped to handle the top coaching position at the Dyip after Ricky Dandan resigned following a 4-7 campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Akeem Wright, one of three first-time imports, tries to lead Columbian’s attempt to make the quarters for the first time since the 2016 Governors’ Cup.
Meanwhile, TNT KaTropa is out to erase the stigma of shocking quarterfinal exit in the Commissioner’s Cup despite a talent-laden roster that included Terrence Romeo, Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario and Roger Pogoy.
The KaTropa will be reinforced by former GlobalPort import Mike Glover.
NLEX, on the other hand, tries to atone for missing the playoffs of the second conference with Olu Ashaolu as import.