– Meralco started their conference strong with back-to-back wins, but they have since been tripping, losing back-to-back as well to TNT and Ginebra. They have a shot at stopping their slump here as they take on the Painters. ROS, meanwhile, is coming off back-to-back wins over Phoenix and Blackwater. They have the momentum heading into this match, and they have the chance to build a win streak heading into a tough stretch against Alaska and Ginebra next.
– Meralco played Ginebra tough in their last game, but the Bolts just weren’t able to shoot well enough to prevail. Despite having 14 more FG attempts, Meralco couldn’t make the most out of it, making just 45% of their shots. In contrast, Ginebra hit nearly 60% of their own attempts. For sure, Meralco needs to do a much better job on defense to have a chance against ROS.
– As for the Painters, they did a pretty good job keeping the Elite at bay in their last game. Jeff Chan and Dior Lowhorn each scored 20 points, and both will play big roles in this one as well, but other guys like Raymond Almazan, Gabe Norwood, and Maverick Ahanmisi have to step up as well. As long as coach Yeng Guiao’s wards don’t go ice cold or have a meltdown, they should be in good shape.
– These teams have also split their first two games this season, so this game will be sort of a rubber match to see who gets the upper-hand in their head-to-head. Dahil dito, tiyak na uulan, kukulog, at kikidlat sa labang ito!
1. HODGE PODGE
– Cliff Hodge was a man possessed for Meralco in their game against Ginebra. The 6-foot-6 Fil-American topscored for the Bolts with 19 points on top of 7 rebounds and 3 steals. His has always been a crucial barometer for Meralco, and that will continue to apply here as they face a big and burly ROS team.
vs Ginebra: 19pts, 7rebs, 2asts, 3stls, 1blk, 7/13 FGs.
First 3 games: 11.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, 46.2 FG%
2. DURHAM STILL DELIVERS?
– Allen Durham struggled with his shooting against Ginebra, but he compensated by ruling the boards, handing out a ton of assists, and playing well on D. It’s clear that Durham can affect a game on both ends of the floor, but he’ll need to rediscover his sharp form for the Bolts to spring an upset here.
vs Ginebra: 17pts, 12rebs, 8asts, 1stl, 1blk, 8/18 FGs.
First two games (both wins): 34.0ppg, 18.5rpg, 5.5apg, 2.0spg, 1.0bpg, 60.5 FG%
Last two games (both losses): 15.5ppg, 13.0rpg, 6.5apg, 0.5spg, 3.0bpg, 41.2 FG%
3. MERALCO: IMPOSE ON THE INSIDE
– One thing Meralco did well in their previous game is imposing their will in the paint. Meralco outscored the bigger Ginebra squad big time in that game, and if the Bolts can continue to dominate in the box, the Painters maybe in a bit of trouble.
Pts in the Paint – MER 52, GIN 38
Durham – 14pts
Hodge – 14pts
Newsome – 8pts
Hugnatan – 8pts
Jamshidi – 6pts
4. LOWHORN’S HIGH GAME
– Dior Lowhorn’s nifty double-double was big in ROS’s win over Blackwater. His size can really make things difficult for ROS’s foes, and if he continues to adjust well to the Painters’ style, he should be even more productive and dominant moving forward.
vs Blackwater: 20pts 12rebs, 2asts, 1blk, 8/16 FGs.
5. VETS NEED TO SHOW UP
– Veteran Painters like Chris Tiu, Gabe Norwood, and Beau Belga have always been reliable, but their production in their previous outing left much to be desired. Sure, ROS, has a lot of weapons in its roster, but having their veterans step up their production would certainly boost their chances of coming up with a win.
Tiu – 0pts, 0/2 FGs
Gabe – 4pts, 2/2 FGs
Beau – 4pts, 2/5 FGs
Tiu – 1.5ppg, 25.0 FG%
Gabe – 6.7ppg, 61.5 FG%
Beau – 3.3ppg, 50.0 FG%
6. ROS: WARY OF SECOND CHANCES
– ROS was able to stand toe-to-toe with Blackwater in terms of rebounding, but the Painters allowed the Elite to grossly outscore them in terms of second chance points. That’s one reason Blackwater was able to stick close with ROS, and that’s something the Painters can ill-afford to let happen again, especially against a team as big and tough up front like Meralco.
Rebs – ROS 57, BLA 57
Off Rebs – ROS 18, BLA 23
2nd chance pts – ROS 10, BLA 22
7. KEY MATCH-UP: MOHAMMAD JAMSHIDI X GABE NORWOOD
– Jamshidi came in as highly touted Asian imports, but he hasn’t really been able to dominate yet. He has had his shining moments, but I’m sure the Iranian swingman would like to have a true breakout game. On the other end, Norwood is a guy who has battled Jamshidi in the past, and playing opposite the Iranian star may just bring out the best from the Fil-American.
Jamshidi last game: 7pts, 3rebs, 5asts, 3/9 FGs.
Gabe last game: 4pts, 6rebs, 5asts, 2/2 FGs.
Jamshidi stats: 6.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 28.1 FG%
Gabe stats: 6.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 3.3apg, 1.0bpg, 1.3 triples per game, 61.5 FG%