The rampaging Magnolia Hotshots will put their win streak on the line this Sunday against the Meralco Bolts. Will Magnolia extend their undefeated run at the expense of the Bolts? Or, will Meralco put an end to the Chicken Timplados’ fun ride?

Catch this game live on Sunday,  February 26 at 6:45 pm, Manila time.

Magnolia Chicken Timplados (4-3)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Jio Jalalon
  • SG: Paul Lee
  • SF: Calvin Abueva
  • PF: Antonio Hester
  • C: Rafi Reavis

The Chicken Timplados have seemingly discovered the right mix, as they have yet to lose a game with import Antonio Hester. After losing three games in a row to start the Governors’ Cup, Magnolia made the decision to send Erik McCree packing and bring in Hester, who has been the perfect fit for the Chicken Timplados. Unlike McCree, Hester doesn’t need the ball a lot in his hands to raise the level of Magnolia’s play on the floor. Hester is averaging more points on nearly double the FG% of McCree, more rebounds, steals, and perhaps more importantly, more assists than Magnolia’s previous reinforcement. 

In their last game, the Chicken Timplados smashed the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday, 112-97, with Hester taking a seat back in scoring, letting Jio Jalalon and Paul Lee take care of most of the business — each had 19 points — while still putting up 17 points to go with 15 rebounds and five assists. Magnolia’s defense is also going to pose problems for an already offensively-challenged Meralco squad — last overall this conference with just 102.5 PPG. The Chicken Timplados are tied with the Bolts at No. 1 with  98.1 points allowed per game while scoring 107.0 PPG.


Meralco Bolts (4-3)

Projected Starting Five:

  • PG: Chris Banchero
  • SG: Chris Newsome
  • SF: Allein Maliksi
  • PF: Cliff Hodge
  • C: KJ McDaniels

Meralco showed it can win with its stellar defense against even a high-scoring team last last Thursday when the Bolts put the shackles on the NLEX Road Warriors during a 114-98. the Road Warriors are third overall this conference with 111.9 PPG on 47.7 FG% but was held to fewer than 100 points on 41.6 FG% by the Bolts. NLEX import Wayne Selden scored 29 points on 22 shots, Don Trollano made 19 on 13 attempts, while Kevin Alas put up 13 on 15 tries. 

In other words, the Bolts’ made NLEX bleed more for its points, and they can do that to Magnolia. As mentioned earlier, Meralco is up there in scoring defense. The Bolts are also No. 1 in both opponents’ FG% (40.5%) and opppnents’ TS% (52.4%). Import K.J. McDaniels can get the job done on both ends of the floor, and he’s got the heft and mobility to keep up with the burly Hester, while Raymond Almazan provides solid rim protection and rebounding alongside Cliff Hodge, who leads all Meralco locals with 7.3 RPG. As a team, Meralco is pacing the rest of the PBA with 50.7 RPG.


Spread: Meralco (+5.0) covers.

Over/Under: The total (204.5) hits the Under.