Nov 18, 2023

Bolts try to stay clean, Beermen determined to bounce back

MORE than pride would be at stake when Meralco and San Miguel Beer collide Sunday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts are looking for a third straight win in as many games and possibly a hold on solo leadership, depending on the result of the match between 3-0 Magnolia and 1-0 Barangay Ginebra later in the evening.

The Beermen, on the other hand, are aiming to stand on less shaky ground following a tough 113-117 overtime loss to the NLEX Road Warriors in the former's conference debut last Wednesday.

Meralco may be without Allein Maliksi, who suffered a broken nose early during the Bolts' 91-84 conquest of Blackwater on Nov. 11 and missed the team's East Asia Super League (EASL) game versus the Ryukyu Golden Kings in Okinawa last Wednesday.

Terrence Romeo is also a gametime decision for SMB after he injured his foot late in regulation of the game against the Road Warriors as his team-high 28 points went for naught.

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Even without said players both teams have enough tools to get the job done.

More so for Meralco, which is expected to be led anew by Su Braimoh. The Nigerian-American is currently averaging 32 points and 15 rebounds a game.

Chris Newsome, meanwhile, remains stellar following his heroics for Gilas Pilipinas in the recent Asian games, norming 13.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists. And then there's the indefatigable Cliff Hodge, usually good for 12 rebounds on top of 9.5 points.

Out to redeem himself is SMB import Ivan Aska, who had 21 points and nine rebounds but fouled out with still 6:28 to go in regulation during his league debut.

Also expected to carry the brunt for the Beermen are CJ Perez and June Mar Fajardo after the former notched 25 points and the reigning season MVP tallied 22 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and as many blocks in their first game. (NC)