PBA 2023 Season | Bolts and Hotshots Brace for an Epic Battle Ahead
The Meralco Bolts have secured the twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA 2023 Season Governors’ Cup quarterfinals due to their superior quotient, but they are not complacent and are determined to make the most of it. They plan to follow the example of San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra, who also want to defeat their opponents in one shot. Meanwhile, the Magnolia Hotshots, who must win two games in a row to salvage the matchup, are optimistic about their chances.
The upcoming game between the Bolts and Hotshots is expected to be the toughest clash in the quarterfinals. The game will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum after the match between top seed TNT Tropang Giga and No. 8 Phoenix Super LPG.
The Bolts defeated the Hotshots 86-84 in their previous encounter, a close game between two teams that excel in lockdown defense. With their almost identical stats in the elms, it is expected to be a slam-bang showdown. Magnolia is ranked No. 1 in points allowed, giving up 99.3 a game, while Meralco is No. 2 with 99.8. They are also neck-to-neck in rebounding, with Magnolia ranking No. 1 with 53 boards per game and Meralco ranking No. 2 with 52. Regarding field goal percentage allowed, Meralco is ranked No. 1 at 41.8 percent, and Magnolia is ranked No. 2 at 42 percent.
The two teams faced each other in a best-of-five semifinals showdown in the same conference last year, which went the full distance with the Bolts winning 94-81, led by the hot hands of Allein Maliksi and the all-around game of Tony Bishop. In the rematch, both teams will field almost the same local casts. The new addition is the import matchup between Meralco’s KJ McDaniels and Magnolia’s Antonio Hester.
Maliksi will support the Bolts, Aaron Black, Chris Newsome, and Raymond Almazan, while Paul Lee will back the Hotshots, Calvin Abueva, Mark Barroca, and Jio Jalalon. Lee is currently on a roll, having won the PBA All-Star Three-Point Shootout and emerging as the MVP in the All-Star Game.
However, the Hotshots will continue to miss Ian Sangalang in their upcoming game.