PBA: Meralco finds jolt of energy, rekindles rivalry with Ginebra
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PBA: Meralco finds jolt of energy, rekindles rivalry with Ginebra

/ 04:15 AM May 14, 2024

Meralco Bolts' Allein Maliksi PBA Ginebra PBA playoffs

Meralco Bolts’ Allein Maliksi in the PBA Philippine Cup game against Ginebra. -PBA IMAGES

Whatever struggles Meralco had earlier in the PBA Philippine Cup feels like a distant memory now.

The Bolts, after opening the crown jewel tournament with a 1-3 win-loss record, have now won five straight games. Their current winning streak features a tough victory over the mighty defending champion San Miguel, and back-to-back wins against NLEX in the quarterfinals.

Looking back, coach Luigi Trillo feels his charges’ wobbly start was fortuitous.

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READ: PBA: Meralco ousts NLEX, books semis vs Ginebra

“We never gave up,” head coach Luigi Trillo said shortly after bundling out sister team NLEX, 100-81, at Rizal Memorial Coliseum on Sunday night.

“Like [Chris Banchero] said … we got off to a shaky start. But that’s where character is revealed. We were 1-and-3, we had two solid games [after] to go 3-3, and then we lost two,” he added. “Sometimes, when you go through some adversity like that, it really tests you.”

“It’s no secret we got off to a slow start. We got a bunch of vets in here and we know that a slow start is not the end of a conference. We want to be playing our best basketball as we go into the playoffs and I think we’re doing that right now,” said Banchero, who starred with 26 points in the triumph that ultimately sealed the two-game sweep of the Road Warriors.

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READ: Loss to Meralco, Scottie injury forced Ginebra to dig deep

Whether such a turnaround has been transformative for the Bolts will soon be known, especially with an old tormentor on the horizon.

Meralco will battle Barangay Ginebra in a best-of-seven semifinal series that gets going this Friday, rekindling a rivalry that has been one-sided throughout the PBA history.

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Cautious optimism

The Bolts have always faltered against the Gin Kings in the title showdown, but they have recently proven that they are a capable lot after overcoming their conquerors in the last edition of the Philippine Cup quarterfinals where they bundled out beat the crowd darlings two games to one.

Still, Trillo is using cautious optimism.

“We’ve known them from the past,” he said of Tim Cone and his talented crew led by the tireless Christian Standhardinger. “It’s going to be seven games this time, but they could be a different animal altogether.”

“It’s always hard and tough whenever we face Ginebra. They’re well-coached, they got some depth and aside from that, they’ve added guys like (Ralph) Cu who are really great role players.”

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“We know we have our hands full and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board. But we know what we’re up against. It’ll be hard all the way but we’re looking forward to that process,” Trillo added.

TAGS: PBA, Sports

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