Key players, members of coaching staff to miss Meralco's Saturday match vs Blackwater

Photo from PBA

Meralco coach Norman Black expects Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge and other members of the team to miss the game against Blackwater on Saturday, Sept. 18 due to the PBA’s health and safety protocols.

Black said Newsome, Hodge, third-string big man Toto Jose, team manager Paolo Trillo and several members of his coaching staff, notably Ronnie Magsanoc and Charles Tiu, could be cleared in time for the Bolts’ next set of games next week.

Their absence left Meralco with just 12 players in uniform and Black only joined by assistants Patrick Fran and Geno Afable on the sidelines during its 95-83 win over Terrafirma Thursday, Sept. 16 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.

“I’m pretty sure that they won’t be back in our next game because that game is on Saturday,” said Black. “But I’m counting on them to be back by the next time we play after that, which I’m not really sure what the schedule is.

“But whenever we play next week, they should be back already,” Black added.

The Bolts could be down to 11 men against the Bossing after starting point guard Aaron Black hurt his right hand two minutes into the ballgame.

Despite Black’s absence, Anjo Caram stepped up to help Meralco win its first game since the whole team was placed under COVID-19 guidelines while staying in second spot in the Philippine Cup with a 6-2 record.

“He didn't break it. I'm not sure how serious it is yet,” Black said of his son’s injury. “But at least it's no broken bones and hopefully he'll heal as quickly as possible.

“I’m really happy for Anjo stepping in and playing great for us, and being the best player. And even the other guards like Trevis Jackson and Nards Pinto did a good job at the point guard position. It's nice to have the next man come up and play well,” added Black.