By ADRIAN STEWART CO
The Meralco Bolts are in great shape ahead of their clash with PBA Commissioner’s Cup top-seed Magnolia Chicken Timplados Hotshots at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City tonight.
According to Bolts head coach Luigi Trillo, their tight schedule during the holidays allowed them to stay in shape against the Hotshots, which had been on a break since December 23.
The Bolts did not get the benefit of a rest, unlike the Hotshots, as they played two East Asian Super League (EASL) games against the Seoul SK Knights last December 27, and the New Taipei Kings on Wednesday, January 3.
“Having games during the holiday break is both good and bad for us,” Trillo said.
“The bad is, obviously there’s a lot of sacrifice, but if you look at the good, we’re playing quality games,” he said.
“The teams that we faced [in the EASL] are champion, if not, championship-worthy teams. So it kind of gets us sharp heading into the PBA playoffs,” the one-time PBA champion coach added.
The Bolts are currently in third spot in the standings with a 6-2 win-loss slate, and are favored to land a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals with still three games left in their schedule.
“It’s all about getting ready. Playoff basketball is upon us. There are a lot of things that could still happen, but we are setting our sights on winning at least two of our next three games,” Trillo said.
The Bolts are led by reinforcement Zach Lofton against the Hotshots, along with Chris Newsome, Chris Banchero, Clifford Hodge, Raymond Almazan, Aaron Black, and Allein Maliksi.
Also part of the Bolts roster are Diego Dario, Alvin Pasaol, Kyle Neypes, Kier John Quinto, Jansen Rios, Norbert Torres, and rookies Brandon Bates and Shean Jackson.
Ilonggo Anjo Caram was not activated for the Iloilo City game due to an injury, while another Western Visayas-based player, Raymar Jose, who hails from Negros Occidental’s Pontevedra town, is suiting up./ASC, WDJ