The NorthPort Batang Pier will look to stop their bleeding when they get face to face with the Meralco Bolts, who are also coming off a loss, this Thursday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Catch this game live on Thursday, June 23 at 5:15 pm, Manila time.
The NorthPort Batang Pier (2-2)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Robert Bolick
- SG: Jerrick Balanza
- SF: Jamie Malonzo
- PF: Arwind Santos
- C: John Calma
After a hot 2-0 start to the conference, the Batang Pier suddenly find themselves in the middle of a losing skid, having lost their last couple of games to the Magnolia Hotshots (80-77) and to the Blackwater Bossing (97-90). Nevertheless, NorthPort is a team that knows how to score – a lot. The Batang Pier, with Robert Bolick pacing the team with 20.5 points per game, are third in the PBA so far in the 2022 Philippine Cup with an offensive rating of 103.6. But apart from scoring, what’s driving NorthPort is its greatness in the rebounding department.
Pido Jarencio’s squad is tops in the league so far with a 49.6 TRB%, thanks in large part to their versatile forward tandem of Jamie Malonzo and Arwind Santos. Malonzo and Santos are great two-way players who will present big challenges for Meralco’s bigs and perimeter guys. Both are mobile enough to stay in front of the Bolts’ wings and have the size and athleticism to compete in the paint and on the glass.
The Meralco Bolts (2-1)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Aaron Black (questionable)
- SG: Chris Newsome
- SF: Allein Maliksi
- PF: Clifford Hodge
- C: Raymond Almazan
Like the Batang Pier, Meralco is also coming off a loss, falling prey to the TNT Tropang Giga in their last game, 78-71. The Bolts surely missed the services of breakout point guard Aaron Black, who sat out that game with a wrist issue. Black could be back in action as soon as this Thursday, though, so we’re tagging him as questionable for the matchup against Blackwater. If he can’t go, the Bolts will likely give Chris Banchero another start after he scored 12 points with 3 rebounds and 2 assists in the TNT game.
Black has been an integral part of the Bolts since he started to really come into his own in the 2021 Governors’ Cup playoffs, He’s leading the Bolts this conference with 22.0 points per outing while shooting 57.1 FG% and 77.8 3FG%. Defensively, the Bolts can build an electric fence to keep Batang Pier’s scorers from going off. For one, Meralco owns the fourth-best defensive rating with opponents scoring just 95.2 points per 100 possessions against the Bolts.
Spread: The Batang Pier cover (+3.5).
Over/Under: The Over (171.0) hits.