FOR five straight years, the Philippine Cup has been the San Miguel’s fortress of dominance. However, the Meralco Bolts are keen on breaking down the walls when they take on the Beermen one more time with a spot in the semifinals on the line on Sunday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena in Pampanga.
Game time is at 6:45 p.m. as the Bolts try to end San Miguel’s reign in the all-Filipino conference. With the Beermen holding a twice-to-beat advantage, Meralco accomplished the first part of the mission in beating the Beermen, 78-71, at the start of their quarterfinals showdown last Friday.
Now comes the hard part: actually dethroning the Beermen, who time and time again, have shown a propensity to step up when the chips are down.
Meralco managed to place San Miguel in this precarious position, thanks to the stellar performance of rookie Aaron Black, who came through with 14 points, including three three-pointers in the fourth quarter that boosted the Bolts to the victory.
“Of course it’s a confidence booster for us. These guys have won the last five champiosnhips here. They’re a tough team. Definitely we know they’re going to come up with everything they’ve got, so we have to be prepared for that,” said Black, the son of Meralco head coach Norman Black.
The elder Black praised the younger one for stepping up when San Miguel pulled to within six, 67-73. That was when the left-handed guard shot the last of his triples to give the Bolts a 76-67 advantage.
“Hit timely shots when we really need them which was Aaron did tonight when he stepped up and made a couple of threes for us,” said Meralco’s head coach during the postgame press conference. “He came off the bench. I think it was in the last five or six minutes of the game, and hit a couple of shots for us that really helped us separate and helped us win this basketball game.” (JNP)