MANILA, Philippines – Even though the fourth-seeded Meralco Bolts only received the twice-to-beat incentive due to a higher quotient, they are nonetheless motivated to take advantage of it.
They aim to land the haymaker on No. 5 Magnolia in one shot, following in the footsteps of Nos. 2 San Miguel Beer and No. 3 Barangay Ginebra.
The Hotshots are hoping to defy the odds despite being the underdog and requiring two consecutive victories to win the game.
The quarterfinal matchup of the PBA Governors’ Cup is between the Bolts and the Hotshots, which is thought to be the toughest matchup.
Around 5:45 p.m., the game begins. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, immediately following the 3 p.m. TNT Tropang Giga, the top seed, and Phoenix Super LPG, the eighth seed, wrestle each other.
In their semifinal matchup against the Hotshots, Coach Norman Black and his team narrowly prevailed 86 to 84. This matchup featured two teams who both flourish when they play lockdown defense.
The match’s outcome wasn’t really important.
And when you add in that they had practically equal stats in the elimination rounds, you could almost guarantee a nail-biting match.
Magnolia leads all teams in points allowed with 99.3 per contest, while Meralco comes in second with 99.8. With Magnolia at No. 2 at 42 and Meralco at No. 1 with a field goal percentage of 41.8, the rankings are flipped. As for the rebounding rankings, Meralco is in second place with 52 boards per game, right behind Magnolia, who holds the top spot with 53.
Last year, the two teams faced off in a best-of-five semifinal matchup in the same conference. Due to Allein Maliksi’s scorching shooting and Tony Bishop’s all-around performance, the Bolts prevailed, 94 to 81, in the last game of the series.
The teams’ local casts for the rematch will be nearly identical.
The international duel between Antonio Hester of Magnolia and KJ McDaniels of Meralco is novel.
As for Hester, Paul Lee, Calvin Abueva, Mark Barroca, and Jio Jalalon support Hester while Maliksi, Aaron Black, Chris Newsome, and Raymond Almazan support McDaniels.
As the MVP of the All-Star Game and the PBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout, Lee is on a roll.
But Ian Sangalang’s absence from the Hotshots will go on.