Meralco, Star fight for way back to winning track

September 08, 2017

Hitting roadblocks in their recent games, the Meralco Bolts and the Star Hotshots both look to find a way to get going again as they square off in a Petron Blaze Saturday Special in the PBA Governors Cup at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Complex in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

The Bolts dropped two of their last three matches while the Hotshots lost their last two outings.

They both need to stop their skid as they jockey for position entering the homestretch of the elimination round.

They mix it up at 5 p.m. with the winner boosting their stock in the Top Four.

Despite their recent losses, Meralco and Star remain solid contenders for the Top Four which reward a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.

Meralco is right behind NLEX (7-2) and Barangay Ginebra (6-1) at 5-2 while Star is half-game behind the Bolts at 4-2.

"We're in the crucial stage of the conference, and I've told my players that we need to push up the level of our game especially as we're to face strong teams," said Star coach Chito Victolero.

And coming from a two-game slide, Victolero is urging his troops to have a sense of urgency going to their match against Meralco.

"It's an important game for us. We have to play hard to get the win," Victolero said, also hoping his players will be able to neutralize Allen Durham and Meralco key locals Baser Amer, Chris Newsome and Garvo Lanete.

Meralco coach Norman Black, on the other hand, said they must recall the fiery game they've lost on an 18-day layoff.

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In their return from that long hiatus, the Bolts were crushed by the TNT KaTropa Texters, 107-113.

"Some other teams also had long breaks but came back and played well. So definitely, that's no excuse. We'll have to find a way to improve as a team," said Black.

But there's no doubt they became rusty.

"Judging by the way we played, we didn't have the same fluidity we had in the past games," Black said. "We didn't have the same fire, the same execution we had before the long break."

Black hopes they've shaken off the rustiness and they would be ready for a battle against the Hotshots.