COACH Norman Black and the Meralco Bolts try to stay in contention for the playoffs when they clash with heavily-favored Hong Kong Bay Area Dragons at the resumption of the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Lingering close to the bottom of the standings with a 1-5 win-loss record, the Bolts battle their biggest challenge this conference at 3 p.m.
The Bolts need to win five straight games to stay alive for the next round.
“Despite the adversity, we will go into the game against Bay Area fighting to stay alive,” said Black, whose team enters the game limping—Cliff Hodge (ankle sprained) and Chris Newsome (calf).
“It’s going to be a tough matchup versus the Bay Area without Cliff Hodge and Chris Newsome although our new import KJ McDaniels is adjusting very well with us,” he said.
McDaniels, an all-around import who played for TNT Tropang Giga and NLEX, replaced ineffective Johnny O’ Bryant last week, hoping to salvage whatever left from Meralco.
The guest team Bay Area Dragons are coming off a 130-76 rout of winless Terrafirma last October 21, giving them a 6-1 win-loss record behind import Andrew Nicholson’s averages of 34.6 points and 11.3 rebounds over the last three games since replacing Myles Powell.
NorthPort and Rain or Shine—both tied with TNT Tropang Giga at 3-4 won-lost—clash at 5:45 p.m.