LATEST NEWS With the coach out, Meralco picks up a crucial...

With the coach out, Meralco picks up a crucial win to go into a killer 3-game stretch


Aaron Black of Meralco.

Aaron Black of Meralco. -PBA IMAGES

Preparing for a tortuous grind in the week ahead where their playoff hopes basically hang, Meralco earned a win on Wednesday to stop a skid and also give the Bolts confidence when it really matters to them, as the Philippine Cup eliminations from the PBA enter their final stretch.

Aaron Black chipped in 20 points and, along with Chris Newsome, led a fierce fourth-quarter charge as the Bolts beat the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 77-73, at Smart Araneta Coliseum to move Meralco up to 4-3. and also put the team ahead. the right frame of mind heading into what could be classed as a killer week.

“If you go 3-4, you can be eliminated [from playoff contention]said the black. “For us, this was a very important game, especially going into the next three games.

“Don’t get me wrong, Rain or Shine is a formidable team. But the next guys we’re up against are at the top of the standings: all the San Miguel teams. And we’re playing them back to back. So we really had to get this one.”

king triumph

Later in the night, Barangay Ginebra took credit for Black’s words, showing his power to crush Terrafirma, 106-82.

The Gin Kings used an 18-1 run to close out the third period and then kept their soldered hands on the wheel the rest of the way to earn their sixth win in seven outings to share the lead.

So on top? San Miguel beer.

That means Meralco will face two squads that have combined for just two losses so far, although Geneva has a titanic clash against defending champion TNT to come.

Japeth Aguilar was solid once again for the Kings, putting up a complete performance of 22 points and six rebounds that was combined with seven blocks, tying a career high.

Christian Standhardinger finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Geneva.

Preparations for stretching at home

Like the Bolts, the Gin Kings are using these mid-schedule wins to prepare for their final stretch in the preliminary round.

“Coming into this game, the mindset was to improve from the last game in preparation for our next games. We were able to adjust in the second and kept our defense, really executing on offense,” Aguilar said.

The loss, meanwhile, was the sixth in a row for the Painters, who actually opened the season with a win.

Meralco was victorious even without head trainer Norman Black, Aaron’s father, who had to fly to the United States to care for his ailing mother. And with Ronnie Magsanoc joining the national 3X3 team in Singapore, Luigi Trillo was left in command.

And he admits that he has everyone on the same page.

“Just proud of everyone. It’s been eight years for me, so it wasn’t in my flow either,” said Trillo, who won a title with Alaska in 2013, before shifting credit to the charges from him. “But the players contributed, they talked, I let them talk before the game and our coaching staff and we helped each other.”

Three games, five days

Meralco snapped a two-game streak and may still have hopes of finishing in the top four depending on how it fares during its deadly streak, when it takes on Geneva, Magnolia and San Miguel in a five-day span starting July 13. .

“Hopefully we can carry this momentum into the next three games,” the younger Black said.

Only Maliksi had 19 points, Cliff Hodge threw 13 and Raymond Almazán finished with 10 points and 15 rebounds for the Bolts.

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