Meralco and Alaska square off for a share of the lead in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts and the Aces try to follow up their huge opening wins as they collide in the opener at 5:15 p.m. to be followed by the game of winless squads San Mig Coffee and Petron Blaze in the second offering at 7:30 p.m.
Last Saturday, Alaska came from behind and beat Rain or Shine in its first assignment, 83-81, on Cyrus Baguio’s buzzer-beating lay-up, while Meralco beat Talk ‘N Text, 99-92, on Eric Dawson’s monster performance.
“If there is one team that I think is underrated it is Meralco. They have in my mind a Best Import candidate,” said Aces coach Luigi Trillo.
Dawson had 37 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks against Tropang Texters to lead the Bolts. He will be pitted against ex-Miami Heat draftee Robert Dozier, who tallied 21 points, 16 rebounds, and three blocks in his PBA debut.
The locals of Meralco also contributed enough to snatch the win from the undermanned Talk ‘N Text five.
“They added athletes in (Vic) Manuel and (Rey) Guevarra and they seem to have better chemistry. I am worried for this game,” Trillo added.
Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio said their first win gave them the confidence they needed in facing the challenge especially after trading top player Sol Mercado to Globalport.
“We are upbeat after winning against Talk ‘N Text despite making road major roster changes one week before the tournament,” said Gregorio.
“Team defense is what we have focused on in our preparations. If we come out with the same effort on defense and match the energy of the Aces, then we are in a good match.”
The winner of the Meralco-Alaska encounter joins Barako Bull in the early lead at 2-0.
In the main game, the Mixers will finally have an import when they clash with the Boosters, who will be losing key player Chris Lutz for six weeks because of a rib injury.
Matt Rogers did not play in San Mig Coffee’s 79-75 loss to Barako Bull due to food poisoning. Petron lost to GlobalPort, 94-92, in its opening encounter.