Winning games, respect

November 16, 2019

Bolts try to keep fiery streak going, play E. Painters,

AFTER being eliminated in the first two conferences this season, Meralco has probably made a complete turnaround to earn the respect of everybody in the 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup.

Even multi-titled coach Tim Cone didn’t fail to take notice of the Bolts’ remarkable improvement, saying this version of Meralco is the best in the last three years. The Ginebra bench tactician noted the Bolts have added some important pieces that, he said, have taken them to another level.

And look, the Bolts are currently on a hot streak with five straight victories, and they have even defeated Cone’s Gin Kings, 101-77, in the course of their streak last Nov. 3.

In their last outing last Sunday, Meralco’s shortest player in Anjo Caram stood tallest as the 5-foot-6 ¾ playmaker cut loose with 30 points in the Bolts’ 103-89 rout of NorthPort.

"I'm happy for him (Caram) because he works very hard in practice; he's a guy who has a great attitude, comes to work everyday, doesn't complain about anything,” a visibly impressed Meralco coach Norman Black said of Caram.

“When we play him two minutes, when we play him 30 minutes, it doesn't make any difference, he always gives his best so you have to be happy for a guy like that," added Black.

A week after that win over NorthPort, the Bolts set out today looking to sustain their momentum, but are expected to take extra precaution because they are playing a Rain or Shine team that’s fighting for dear life.

The Bolts will go for their sixth straight win and their ninth overall in 11 games in the 4:30 p.m. opening tussle of a double-header at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. NorthPort and Barangay Ginebra collide in the main offering at 7 p.m.

The Bolts are currently running second at 8-2 and are already assured of the luxury of having to win only once over their opponent in the quarterfinal round to make the semis right away.

If they win, they will take the solo lead which they can keep in the event that NLEX falls in ambush to a rampaging Alaska in their meeting at the close of the elimination on Nov. 20.

The Elasto Painters are expected to give their all in their bid to forge a tie for the last quarterfinals berth.

As it is, a four-way tie for the 7th to 10th places might still ensue among the RoS, Alaska, NorthPort and Columbian Dyip at 4-7.

In that case, quotient will first be applied to determine the seventh-placed team and the squad which is relegated to 10th. The remaining two teams will then dispute the eighth and last in the quarterfinals via a knockout game.

According to league chief statistician Fidel Mangonon III, such a four-way tie would push Alaska at seventh and eliminate NorthPort while Rain or Shine and Columbian play off for No. 8.