IT WILL be do-or-die Saturday for two-time PBA Governors Cup runner-up Meralco.
Riding on a three-game winning streak that kept their playoff hopes alive, the Bolts seek an all-important win today against San Miguel Beer and gain at least a playoff crack at the last quarterfinals berth at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is 6:45 p.m. with the Bolts facing an acid test against the equally-hot Beermen on the penultimate playdate of the elimination round of this season-ending, import-flavored tournament.
At 4-6, the Allen Durham-led Bolts need a win to assure themselves of a playoff against either sister teams NLEX (5-5) or Talk N Text (4-6).
Meralco can gain outright quarterfinals berth if it beats San Miguel and Talk N Text drops its last game against Barangay Ginebra tomorrow (Sunday).
But a loss by Meralco, coupled with a Talk N Text win over Ginebra, will push it out of the next phase.
Losses by both Meralco and Talk N Text will send them in a one-game playoff for the No. 8 spot.
A three-way tie among NLEX, Meralco and Talk N Text loom in case the Road Warriors lose to Rain or Shine in their 4:30 p.m. encounter and both Meralco and Talk N Text win.
But beating San Miguel is easier said than done for Meralco.
And Meralco coach Norman Black knows it only too well.
The Beermen, afterall, are in an even better four-game winning run.
They now have four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who finally returned to play after a recovery from a stress fracture last week.
The 6-10 behemoth from Cebu had two points, two rebounds and one assists in 10 minutes and 19 seconds in San Miguel’s 109-97 win over Rain or Shine.
They have Fil-German rookie Christian Standhardinger, who averaged 21.5 points, 20 rebounds and 2.5 assists in their victories over NorthPort and Rain or Shine, respectively.
The 6-8 Standhardinger was even named as the PBA Press Corps Player of the Week for his superb individual efforts.
And they have Kevin Murphy, the do-it-all import.
Meanwhile, NCAA Most Valuable Player awardee CJ Perez of Lyceum of the Philippines heads six other Fil-foreigners who have applied for the coming PBA Rookie Draft set Dec. 16.
Perez leads the rookie prospects with foreign blood who signified their intention to join the league’s first official function ushering its 44th season.
Perez is joined by Matthew Salem, Carlos Isit, Paul Varilla, Robbie Manalang, Trevis Jackson, and John Ragasa.
Isit, Manalang, Salem, and Varilla all played in the UAAP and NCAA, respectively.
Deadline of draft application among foreign-bred players ended last Oct. 26.
The documents and eligibility of Perez and the rest of the Fil-foreign players will still be subject for review, with the final list of those who qualified to be released on Dec. 3.