STREAKING BOLTS HOPE TO SILENCE BATANG PIER’S GUNS
MERALCO coach Ryan Gregorio has one formidable enemy coming up Friday in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
It’s not just GlobalPort, which will try to deny the Bolts a third straight win while trying to arrest its own two-game skid.
Rather, it is the Bolts themselves who gnaw at Gregorio.
“Done with Ginebra. We cannot live in the past, we must move forward,” said Gregorio, referring to the team his crew handily beat via a 100-87 count last Tuesday.
Gregorio cannot stress that enough, especially now that his team is bidding to move up to at least fifth-running spot.
GlobalPort also has its own immediate goal, which is to move up alongside Alaska at sixth.
At first glance, the Batang Pier look like an easier prey than the Kings. But that is precisely the kind of thinking Gregorio doesn’t want.
“We are up against the best offensive team in the league. They are overflowing with individual talent. They can flat-out score,” added Gregorio.
Indeed, the Batang Pier have been averaging 99.5 points in their first four games but have given up 103 an outing. That’s why Gregorio has a crystal-clear idea of what to drill home to his charges.
“A shootout will be disastrous for us. We have to clamp down on defense, get them to bleed for points and do not allow them easy baskets,” stated Gregorio.
That’s not to say the Bolts are going to play slack on the business end of the floor, much like what they did in a their breakthrough 112-79 victory over Air21.
“While defense is a must we also must be efficient in our offense. We’ve hit the 100-point mark the past two games, a positive indication of our fluidity on offense and balanced attack,” Gregorio pointed out.
Focal point of Meralco’s defense should be GlobalPort rookie sensation Terrence Romeo.
Despite being held down to just 3-for-13 field shooting and 16 points in a 93-106 loss to Talk N Text last Tuesday, the 21-year-old remains as one of the league’s top gunners with 22.5 ppg.
Jay Washington has also been consistent thus far for the Batang Pier with 19.5 points and 9.75 rebounds an outing and ditto for Sol Mercado (14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists).
Meralco has its own stocked arsenal led by Gary David (17.75 points), Jared Dillinger (14.25 points, 6.0 rebounds), John Wilson (13.0 points) and Mike Cortez (11.75 points, 7.0 assists).
How the combatants’ supporting cast step up and chip in their share should be key, as Gregorio himself pointed out.
“We must continue to share the ball, be unpredictable on offense, where everyone is a threat,” he reiterated. (NC)
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