Meralco enjoys added rim protection with Tony Bishop on board
MANILA, Philippines—Meralco coach Norman Black has always enjoyed the interior presence of Raymond Almazan manning the paint for the Bolts.
For two years, the Bolts had the intimidation factor that Almazan brought on the defensive end but Black now has another player who can swoop in and deny shots at the rim.
Tony Bishop had a great start to his PBA career when he led Meralco to a dominating 98-77 win over listless Blackwater in the 2021 Governors’ Cup, and Black was thoroughly giddy with having two elite rim protectors in his side.
“It’s nice to have two guys who can block shots, I’d like to focus on the defensive side and not so much on them being post-up players but more on the fact they defended the paint well,” said Black Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bishop and Almazan combined for four of the Bolts’ five total blocks in the game and was instrumental in keeping Blackwater at bay.
Almazan finished the game with 10 points, nine rebounds, and one block while Bishop finished with 28 points, 13 boards, two steals, and three blocks.
Meralco was able to score 46 points on 67.6 percent, 23-of-34, of its shots in the shaded area while the Bossing had 38 points at a 57.6% clip, 19-of-33.
Black also has one of the taller front courts in the league this conference with Almazan standing 6-foot-8 and Bishop at 6-foot-5.5.
“They blocked a lot of shots inside the paint and they discouraged a lot of shots so I think, in between the two of them, that’s what they’ll bring to the table.”
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