In the Blackwater-Meralco duel, a second consecutive victory is at risk

Nov 14, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines –  victory in their first PBA Commissioner’s Cup match as new coaches for BLACKWATER and Meralco, respectively, was a gift for both Luigi Trillo and Jeff Cariaso.

If both teams win their match on Saturday at the Ynares the Center in Antipolo, which records a second straight victory, then Cariaso or Trillo will undoubtedly be even happier.

For Cariaso, the imperative of maintaining Blackwater’s undefeated streak and securing an early lead looms large as he seeks to instill a winning mindset in his team. Recognizing the importance of these early victories, Cariaso is well aware that altering the perception of Blackwater as a perennial underdog will require time and sustained success.

Tillo, on the other hand, confronts the challenge of proving his leadership capabilities by steering Meralco into the postseason and, ultimately, clinching the coveted championship. Since assuming the role in May of the previous year, Tillo, alongside consultant Nenad Vucicic and their dedicated staff, has diligently worked towards this ambitious objective.

A pivotal moment for Tillo’s coaching tenure came with Meralco’s decisive 107-102 victory over Rain or Shine on Wednesday. This triumph not only showcased the team’s prowess but also underscored Tillo’s impact on their performance.

Both Cariaso and Tillo find themselves at crucial junctures in their coaching careers, seeking to mold their respective teams into formidable contenders. The nuanced dynamics of coaching, where success is often a gradual process, adds an intriguing layer to their journeys, making each victory and achievement significant milestones in the pursuit of their ultimate goals.

Chris Ortiz of Blackwater and Suleiman Brimoh, an import for Meralco who played the cue in their respective teams’ opening game, are largely responsible for carrying out those duties.

Against Converge, Ortiz recorded 21 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Against the Elasto Painters, Brimoh had an equally remarkable performance with 34 points while 14 rebounds, an assist, a pair of rebounds, and two blocks.

The Bolts’ Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, and Allein Maliksi, and also the Bossing locals led by Troy Rosario, Jayvee Casio, and Rey Suerte, should all pitch in as well.

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