Meralco will have its hands full keeping up with Alaska's pressure defense

January 09, 2018

Meralco faces an entirely different challenge from its last game, and coach Norman Black hopes they can cope up in an effort to be among the early tournament frontrunners.

After battling the heavy frontline crew of San Miguel Beer the last time, the Bolts will now have to endure the pressing and attacking game of the Alaska Milk Aces.

The Bolts, in the middle of the chart at 1-1, and the Aces, winless in two starts, square off at 7 p.m. in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.

Meralco looks to bounce back from a loss to San Miguel Beer to be with NLEX and Phoenix at third place at 2-1, half game behind unbeaten leaders San Miguel (2-0) and Barangay Ginebra (2-0).

"It's very important that we do a good job of handling their pressure defense while limiting our turnovers," said Black, concerned with Alaska's constant press.

"Defensively, we must try to limit the duo of Calvin Abueva and Jeron Teng while also challenging the outside shooting of Jvee Casio," Black also said.

The Bolts did pretty well in a 103-98 winning debut versus the Blackwater Elite then suffered a 97-103 loss to the San Miguel Beermen.

With a surprise boost from reserve player Ken Bono, the Bolts made an amazing fightback from a huge deficit but came up short in their bid in the end.

The Aces are off to a losing season start, dropping their first two games versus the Magnolia Hotshots (95-108) and the TNT KaTropa Texters (98-106).

Teng's solid performances were the silver lining for the Aces on those losses.

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The former La Salle standout collected 16 points and two rebounds in his pro debut then piled up games highs of 28 points and 10 rebounds plus team high five assists versus the Texters.

The Aces, however, couldn't put up a good job altogether yet.

Thus, they're one of three teams - the two others being Kia and GlobalPort -- still yet to post a win in the tourney.