Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

Four:15 p.m. – NLEX vs Alaska

7 p.m. – Star vs Meralco

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco and Star, that includes Alex Stepheson and Ricardo Ratliffe in a marquee import matchup, slug it out for the solo lead initially of the ultimate week of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations on the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday evening.

Alaska Milk and NLEX conflict within the Four:15 p.m. curtain-raiser, with the Aces trying to snap a four-game dropping skid to meet up with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at sixth place at 5-Four.

Then the Bolts and the Hotshots collide at 7 p.m. in a digital playoff match for a spot within the Top Two on the shut of the one-round-robin eliminations.

Going to the match, the 2 groups are tightly bunched with Barangay Ginebra (6-2), San Miguel Beer (6-2) and TNT KaTropa (7-Three) in a spirited race for the Top Two that reward twice-to-beat benefit within the quarterfinals.

 “It’s an important game for both teams because a win will move you one step closer to the twice-to-beat advantage. Since Meralco and Star have been winning mainly due to solid defense, my feeling is that good offensive execution will be a big key to pick up a win,” stated Meralco coach Norman Black.

“It will be a crucial game for both of us. Mental toughness will be a key factor in this game,” stated Star coach Chito Victolero.

Star caught up with Meralco within the lead because the Hotshots repulsed the TNT KaTropa Texters, 107-97, whereas the Bolts bowed to the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 86-94, earlier than the SEABA break.

The Hotshots and Ratliffe marked their reunion with that essential victory over the Texters.

Obviously, an import who can match up with Stepheson was amongst these thought-about by the Hotshots teaching employees in bringing again Ratliffe recent from his stint within the Korean league.

Ratliffe collected big numbers with 37 factors and 22 rebounds of their disposal of the Texters. He will likely be pitted Wednesday evening in opposition to Stepheson who averages 22.Three rebounds, 17.78 factors, 1.56 blocks and 1.56 assists.

Victolero anticipates a defensive battle with the Bolts.

“We expect a defensive game since both teams are in the top four on defense and points allowed as the stats show,” stated Victolero.

“We need to tighten our defense inside and limit the activity of their import especially in getting the offensive rebounds and second chance points. Perimeter defense is also very important to prevent their guards from penetrating and creating their shots,” Victolero added.

Gilas gamers Allein Maliksi and Jio Jalalon are again within the Star roster in time for their essential tiff with Meralco.

Maliksi (13.29 factors) and Jalalon (11.57) together with Paul Lee (11.44) are the Star locals averaging in double digits. Leading scorers among the many Meralco locals are Baser Amer (15.89), Jared Dillinger (13.89) and Chris Newsome (12.56).

Source: philstar