7 p.m. -- Meralco vs. Alaska
Game 1 -- Meralco def. Alaska, 97-92.
Game 2 -- Alaska def. Meralco, 100-95.
TWO-TIME PBA Governors’ Cup runner Meralco and Alaska Milk clash in the pivotal Game 3 today with the winner moving a win away to a coveted finals appearance.
After winning one game each, the Bolts and the Aces are expected to go all out in their 7 p.m. encounter in a game that could make or break their fate in this season-ending, import-flavored conference.
Meralco coach Norman Black and Alaska mentor Alex Compton vowed to make the necessary adjustments in the third game of a series which is fast turning out to be a chess match.
“We will go back to the drawing board and see what adjustments are needed in Game 3,” said Black.
“It’s important that we come out with more energy and we do a better job rebounding the ball,” added Black, pointing to the Aces’ 45-38 advantage in the rebounding department.
Black will rely anew on two-time Best Import winner Allen Durham, Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, Reynel Hugnatan and Anjo Caram,
Compton was more than relieved in Alaska’s series-tying 100-95 win in Game 2 last Tuesday.
“We got out of a hole and we’ve now got a best-of-three. We had much energy tonight (last Tuesday). But you can see the spirit of Meralco in the end. Hindi talaga biro at dapat mas maganda ang ipakita namin,” explained Compton.
Like in Game 2, Compton hopes to get a lot of energy again from import Mike Harris, Simon Enciso and Chris Banchero.
Harris came through with game-highs of 37 points and 19 rebounds, Enciso added a career- 23 that included five three-pointers and Banchero flirted with a near triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The two teams look capable of making it all the way to the finals.
Although they have never won any title yet since entering the league in 2010, the Bolts reached the finals of the season-ending tournament twice in 2016 and 2017 only to lose to crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra.
The Aces, on the other hand, are second winningest team in Asia’s first play-for-pay league with 14 titles, but they have never won any title in the last five seasons now, or since their victory during the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The winner of the Meralco-Alaska showdown will meet the victor of the other semifinal match between Magnolia and Ginebra.