Nov 08, 2018

Meralco tries to defy odds, eyes repeat over Phoenix

In PBA history, 101 of 113 teams with the twice-to-beat advantage have advanced to the next round.

The Meralco Bolts hope to be among those who defied the odds as they clash with the Phoenix Fuel Masters in a knockout setto in their PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals matchup Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts have erased the Fuel Masters' advantage and put the two of them in equal footing on a 90-74 victory Wednesday over at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The two teams slug it out in a do-or-die at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the best-of-five semifinals versus the Alaska Milk Aces.

Coach Norman Black once again rallied his troops to play a lockdown defense as they won a fifth straight do-or-die match in the season-ending tourney.

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Entering the match, the Fuel Masters averaged a league second-best 106.1 points.

But with an efficient defense, the Bolts dragged the Fuel Masters to a low-scoring 33-35 first-half battle - the lowest this conference -- and held Phoenix 32 points below their average in the end.

Black insists, though, that it's just one game, and that they need two in a row to stay in the hunt for a possible third straight Governors Cup Finals stint.

True enough, the Fuel Masters ache to rebound and achieve a feat that has never been done in franchise history.

They take their second crack at a first ever semis, with the Fuel Masters vowing to give it all and leave everything on the floor in this KO setto.

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The Fuel Masters lorded it over in rebounding 67-53 but couldn't shoot straight Wednesday night.

Definitely, they need to move the ball around and find the open man to have a better chance of winning.

The Bolts, however, are determined to work harder and play even better in the next game.

"We'll try to correct whatever errors we had (Wednesday) and try to come out better," said Black. (SB)