May 09, 2017

GlobalPort counting on latest acquisitions, new import to keep playoff hope alive

THE soundness of the recent decisions GlobalPort made over the last weekend would be put to the test Wednesday when it collides with Meralco in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Aside from new acquisitions Sean Anthony, Bradwyn Guinto and Jonathan Grey the Batang Pier are also parading a new import in Justin Harper to fan their hopes of making it to the next round.

Listed at 6-10,225 lbs, Harper comes in as a replacement for Malcolm White, who in turn took over from original import Sean Williams. The two-time NBA D-League All-Star from the Los Angeles D-Fenders is set to plane in late Tuesday.

Unfamiliarity with Harper's style of play and how well he and the new recruits are what nags at Meralco coach Norman Black.

"The game versus GlobalPort will be difficult to gauge because they have new local players and a new import," said Black. "We will just go out and play hard and try to pick up a win."

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GlobalPort sure could use all the help it could get.

Only the top eight teams advance to the quarterfinals following the 11-game eliminations and GlobalPort currently runs ninth with defending champion Rain or Shine and San Miguel Beer taking their turn on the Batang Pier on May 26 and June 2, respectively.

Meralco also figured in that trade, getting Garvo Lanete, But the Bolts could afford to take more time assimiliating the former San Beda sniper into their system since they are already doing well as it is.

Besides, it is on the defensive end that Meralco coach Norman Black prides himself in, knowing it is the key to his side keeping up its drive for a top two finish in the elims that entails a win-once advantage over one of the lowest-ranked teams in the next round.

That defensive mentality was emphasized in Meralco's last outing, an 81-66 win over Phoenix which saw the Fuel Masters being held to their lowest output for the season and pulled down the Bolts' average of points allowed to a conference-leading 85.4 ppg.

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If there's one area Guinto and Anthony could quickly contribute it is on helping stymie Alex Stepheson, who has been a pillar in the middle for Meralco with his 21.8 rebounds per game on top of 17.6 markers an outing.

For his part, Grey, like Stanley Pringle, Mike Cortez and import Malcolm White, should help out in making up for the continued absence of Terrence Romeo, whose Gilas commitments left GlobalPort a big void in scoring and assists.

But like Meralco the Batang Pier must also be able to make stops since the Bolts also have Baser Amer, Chris Newsome and Jared Dillinger leading their offense.