Header Ads Widget

PBA Governors' Cup semifinals preview: Meralco vs. Star

Allen Durham's injury could slow Meralco down against Star in the semis. PBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

IT'S the MVP Group against the San Miguel Group in the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals beginning on Sunday.

The MVP teams, Meralco and TNT, needed to survive a scare in their knockout games, while the SMC clubs, Ginebra and Star, did not waste their time and quickly eliminated their quarterfinal opponent in just one game.

First up is an interesting showdown between the Hotshots and the Bolts.

History: Let's first take a trip down memory lane. Two weeks before Christmas 2014 to be exact.

Star was still fresh from the grand slam the season before and was looking to defend its Philippine Cup title.

The squad, however, had to deal with a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals against Meralco.

Unlike the previous season where they accomplished Cinderella finishes to help capture the treble, the Hotshots were quickly deposed by the Bolts, 77-65. The Hotshots would relinquish their Commissioner's Cup and Governors' Cup titles as well.

What Now: Star and Meralco actually faced off recently at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex, just a stone throw away from the Alonte Sports Arena, where Game 1 will be held.

In fact, Both sides will have a Laguna tour of sorts as Game 2 on Tuesday will take place at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex.

In their last meeting, the Bolts went off to a hot start which turned out to be enough to weather a late storm by the Hotshots.

[Related Story: Meralco wins over Star in first PBA Sta. Rosa showcase]

The differences of this best-of-five series from that match: Allen Durham, who shone in that game, is not 100 percent for the entire series and Malcolm Hill, who helped spark Star's late run, is gone. That leads us to our key match-up.

Key Match-up: Kris Acox vs. (an injured) Allen Durham-I know many of you expect this to be the key match-up for the series, but I'll focus on the storylines that will make this match-up interesting.

Looking to get a deep playoff run, Coach Chito Victolero veered away from an explosive scoring import in Hill for a banger in Acox.

He insisted that he is the "perfect fit" for Star's system, but many fans thought the club should have stayed with Hill as Acox gets to the scoring column in a slow manner.

However, the last three games, all wins, saw some needed local contributions, not to mention the rejuvenated defense of the team, which has been Victolero's mantra.

Meanwhile, Durham's ankle injury will be a main concern as well. He is expected not to be in top shape.

Disclaimer: The opinions and views of the writer does not reflect those of Dugout Philippines.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno