Big test for Meralco

September 10, 2018
Basketball - PBA

TWO-TIME PBA Governor's Cup runner-up Meralco will have its hands full when it represents the country in the 2018 FIBA Asia Champion’s Cup scheduled Sept. 27-Oct. 2 in Nonthaburi, Thailand.

To be handled by coach Norman Black, the Bolts will be reinforced by two-time Best Import Allen Durham and a still-unnamed import in the prestigious, week-long club team competition to be held at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi.

“It will be very difficult ( to go up against top club teams in Asia), but we’ll do our best to represent the country,” said Black.

Meralco is currently 1-2 in the season-ending tournament with Durham leading the way.

Last year, Chooks-to-Go represented the country and finished in fifth place in Chenzhou, China with Isaiah Austin as import.

In the FIBA.Asia report, action in the Asia Champion's Cup will be highly intense as these eight teams are the best clubs in their respective nations

“Even though they will be playing under the name of their clubs, expect everyone to play with limitless effort for national pride as they aim to win the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018," said the report.

Last year’s champion Al-Riyadi of Lebanon heads the team seeing action in the eight-nation tournament.

The representative of the Lebanese Basketball Federation (LFB) captured the 2017 by beating Kashgar-China, 88-59, in Chenzhou, China.

Also returning are Petrochimi of Iran, which finished fourth last year after third-place place finish in 2016; and Mono Vampire Club of Thailand, which wound up sixth in its first ever appearance in the tournament.

The other teams in the fold are the Liaoning Flying Leopards (China), Alvark Tokyo (Japan), SK Knights (Korea) and Pauian Archiland (Chinese Taipei).

The participation of Meralco to the FIBA Asia Champion's Cup was approved by the PBA Board during its annual planning session in Las Vegas over the weekend.

“Without a doubt, the partnership of the Samahang Basketball ng Pilipinas and tbe PBA has become more solid. This is a big, big plus for our national team," said SBP president and Meralco representative Al Panlilio.

Panlilio said he sees no problem in the Meralco schedule in the PBA Governor’s Cup since only the Bolts' game against Rain or Shine at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Sept. 28 will be affected.

San Miguel Beer was initially listed in the FIBA website as the Philippine representative.

But San Miguel Corp. Sports Director Alfrancis Chua said no one has approached them regarding an official invitation.