The Meralco Bolts have the golden opportunity to finally exorcise their demons whenever they are up against the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the playoffs, as they look to go for the jugular this Friday. Will the Bolts eliminate Ginebra? Or will the Barangay force a Game 3?
Catch this game live on Friday, July 29 at 3 pm, Manila time.
Meralco Bolts (1-0)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Aaron Black
- SG: Chris Newsome
- SF: Allein Maliksi
- PF: Cliff Hodge
- C: Raymond Almazan
Luigi Trillo might just be the answer to Meralco’s long-standing tradition of losing to Ginebra in the playoffs. With Norman Black not on the sidelines in Game 1 of this matchup because of personal reasons, Trillo managed to commander the Bolts to a 93-82 victory to take the 1-0 series lead. Meralco also got a huge shot in the arm from Aaron Black, who powered the Bolts with his team-high 25 points on 10/16 shooting from the field and 3/6 from deep.
Meralco also flashed its imposing defense on the Barangay, holding Ginebra down to just 46.5 eFG% – much lower than the crowd-favorites’ 48.3 eFG% in the elimination phase. Meralco’s defense just seems to have Ginebra’s number, as the Bolts also limited the Barangay to just 41.8 eFG% in their 90-73 victory over Tim Cone’s squad back in the first meeting between these teams this conference.
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: LA Tenorio
- SG: Stanley Pringle
- SG: Scottie Thompson
- PF: Christian Standhardinger
- C: Japeth Aguilar
The Barangay, as mentioned earlier, have a history of dominating Meralco in the playoffs, and if there’s a game they need to show that it still is the case, then it’s got to be this Friday’s showdown, which is a do-or-die scenario for Ginebra. Although the Bolts managed to put the clamps on Ginebra’s offense in Game 1, they were not able to slow down Scottie Thompson at all. Thompson put up a game-high 29 points to go with 10 rebounds and 3 assists.
Thompson’s always likely to get his numbers, but he needs help still, and he’s hoping veteran teammate LA Tenorio shows on Friday night after laying an egg in the series opener. Tenorio shot 0/5 in the 32 minutes he was on the floor, and it’s hard to imagine him being that bad for the second time in a row. Moreover, Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar can’t let Meralco’s frontcourt to beat them on the glass again after coming up with just a total of 9 rebounds together to the 15 combined of Raymond Almazan and Kyle Pascual.
Spread: Meralco (+1.5) covers.
Over/Under: Taking the Under (176.5) for this game.