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Meralco begins its journey to the top four as Game One of its best-of-three quarterfinal series of the 2013 PBA Philippine Cup against Alaska reels off Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts and the Aces face off in the main game at 7:30 p.m. right after the opening game duel of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and Rain or Shine at 5:15 p.m.
“We have achieved our modest goal of finishing fourth. Now, we have raised the bar and would like to enter the Final 4. It is not going to be easy but we are definitely ready,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
Gregorio knows that his Bolts need to do a good defensive job on Aces top rookie Calvin Abueva to stand a better chance in their series.
“The tendencies of Abueva have been scrutinized. His activity on both ends of the floor is amazing. His motor is relentless. Our success will depend on how we can slow him down,” he said.
“We will do all the legal ways on how we can slow him down. We will do all the legal ways to stymie his contributions,” he added.
Abueva, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, is currently in the second spot for the Best Player of the Conference race and will be a marked man in the series.
Alaska mentor Luigi Trillo knows Meralco is a dangerous team and they need to focus on their defense.
“They have guys who can push the ball and post up.. They have three explosive guards (Sol Mercado, Ronjay Buenafe and Mark Cardona). They also have bigs who care tailor fit to the system they run,” said Trillo.
“Gonna be the team that can dictate their type of tempo that will win Game One,” he added.
In the opener, the Kings and the Elasto Painters start their own series in what everyone expect a highly physical encounter.
“Maiksi lang ito. Importante yug mental toughness sa ganitong laban. Defense will be the key,” said Ginebra mentor Siot Tanquingcen.
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