A few days ago, Rain or Shine Elasto Painters head coach Yeng Guiao thought that the PBA could win back fans through games that are back-and-forth affairs with unpredictable outcomes.

Instead of the Elasto Painters, though, it seems that the Meralco Bolts heeded Guiao’s words.

Eight players scored at least six players for the Bolts, who stood toe-to-toe with the potent Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings early on before using a 7-0 run in between the first two quarters  to put a 37-27 lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Meralco spoiled a career night from Christian Standhardinger (41 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists) with their group effort in utilizing the midrange.


This is the type of game fans would want to see: David beating Goliath even for just one game. The Bolts were taking the fight to the Gin Kings and pulling away and keeping the lead was an outcome that will certainly invite the possibility of an upset. However, history hasn’t been on their side for the most part.

As good as they are, Meralco has yet to make that great leap towards winning a PBA championship. They’ve had a number of attempts, but their efforts have always been thwarted by Barangay Ginebra. Despite that, the Bolts have been a beacon of consistency compared to their sister teams TNT Tropang Giga and the NLEX Road Warriors thanks to the stability of their roster. Allein Maliksi, Chris Newsome, and Aaron Black (before he got injured) have been the steady foundational pieces that have kept Meralco afloat and they remain the last team from the MVP group standing in the 2024 Honda PBA Philippine Cup.

The Gin Kings remain the favored team in this series, but with some of their best players struggling, the Bolts still have a fighting chance. Meralco’s frontcourt has closed the gap with their counterparts in Barangay Ginebra by being physical and going after loose balls. This type of approach has had its gains such as the 101-84 rebounding advantage in favor of the Bolts for both Games 1 and 2, but it has also resulted in quite a number of fouls (55-39 through two games) despite leveling the playing field. They’ve also moved the ball around a lot and even if it doesn’t necessarily generate assists, it certainly helps Meralco’s objective of relying on their collective efforts to keep this series competitive.

However, physicality has its limits and if this series goes the distance, the Meralco Bolts could end up paying for it regardless if they advance. But sometimes, it’s the price you pay to pursue success and for the Bolts, an elusive championship could make it worth it.