E-Painters, Bolts clash for solo lead

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Titleholder Rain or Shine, Meralco and Alaska Milk stake their clean slates while Mahindra shoots for a second straight win as they figure in an exciting doubleheader in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City tonight.

The Elasto Painters and the Bolts slug it out for the solo lead in their 7 p.m. tiff, succeeding the 4:15 p.m. setto between the Aces and the Floodbuster.

The E-Painters (3-0), the Bolts (3-0) and the Aces (2-0) are all off to blazing starts while the Floodbuster dropped their first two games before picking up a first win at the expense of the NLEX Road Warriors, 89-81, last Friday.

“They are a high-scoring team that can hit you from a variety of ways. Trying to slow down (Shawn) Taggart will be the No. 1 priority but we have also to do a good job versus their shooters. They will be another big test for our defense,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.

Meralco won its first three games against Mahindra, NLEX and TNT KaTropa largely behind a lockdown defense. The Bolts held their opponents below 90 points in each of those three games.

Rain or Shine coach Caloy Garcia said they have their job cut out for them against the Bolts with import Alex Stepheson who has made the Bolts a lethal team.

Stepheson has provided the Bolts tremendous boost with his dominant inside presence.

“It’s quite different now (from the Philippine Cup) because we have a man we can rely on. Our local guys are confident we can compete with any team because of him,” said Black.

Meralco notched only three wins against eight losses in the all-Filipino tourney and missed the playoff play.

The E-Painters and Taggart were also impressive in their first three games.

The Elasto Painters, the reigning champs, topped the NLEX Road Warriors, the Mahindra Floodbuster and the Blackwater Elite.

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