Jun 11, 2024

Bolts go for pivotal 3-1 lead versus Beermen

THE Meralco Bolts have twice been in a 2-1 lead in best-of-seven finals and found themselves beaten in the end.

In both occasions, they were foiled in their attempt to get to 3-1. And that's how hard and elusive getting a first PBA crown for the Bolts.

But coach Luigi Trillo is hopeful the current batch of the Meralco Bolts can play better and go over the hump.

Already in a breakthrough run, the Bolts seek to break more barriers and gain that pivotal 3-1 lead versus the San Miguel Beermen in the resumption of their PBA Philippine Cup title face-off Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

"We know this team (San Miguel), they're very capable of coming back and we know they've been down before. As for us, we believe we can play better... We'll be ready (for Game 4)," said Trillo, determined to steer the Bolts to a follow-up to their 93-89 triumph in Game 3 Sunday.

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Tip off is at 7:30 p.m.

But the Bolts are realistic it wouldn't be easy. In fact, there's been no easy game in the series.

"You're going up against San Miguel, who's the best team of the decade and they're playoffs-ready. They've been through a lot of series so it's going to be tough to go up 3-1 against them. They're going to be hungry," said Chris Newsome.

But then Newsome hopes they can pick up some points from past sad losses and be a better team that can change their fortunes.

"Those of us who were there during that 2-1 lead, we're passing our knowledge now on the things that we could have done better during our 2-1 leads, to capitalize on the situation and turn it into a 3-1 lead," Newsome said.

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Fellow Meralco Raymond Almazan, Cliff Hodge and Allein Maliksi have been up to the task.

For the Beermen, it's about recalling the old San Miguel Beer spirit and playing the true SMB game.

"Sabi nga ni coach (Jorge Gallent), hindi namin nilaro ang 'San Miguel basketball.' Kailangan namin extra passes, better execution at ang dami nila (Bolts) na offensive rebounds, kailangan namin i-address iyon," said SMB ace behemoth June Mar Fajardo.

The Beermen vow to come out and go all out to once again score an equalizer.

"Sobrang crucial itong Game 4 kasi ayaw naming madikdik talaga," said CJ Perez.

"Gagawin namin lahat para maka-bounce back next game," said Fajardo. (SB)