Blackwater looks to avoid setting a new record for consecutive losses and end a disappointing campaign on a winning note against Meralco in the PBA Philippine Cup Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Bossing go for an upset victory over the second-running Bolts in the 2 p.m. match and prevent eclipsing the dubious mark they now share with the 1980 Great Taste/Tivoli Fun Drinks franchise with 18 straight losses.
Another defeat would also result in Blackwater being the first team in four years to go winless in a PBA conference. Terrafirma, now known as Kia, lost all 11 games during the 2017 Governors’ Cup.
Simon Enciso, who led the team in scoring at 13.7 points, Mike Tolomia, Carl Bryan Cruz and Ed Daquioag hope to put in a determined effort in order to win for the first time since a 98-88 victory over NLEX on Oct. 17, 2020.
Meralco, meanwhile, aims to claim a seventh win in nine matches and stay on top of the race for the other twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
At 6-2, the Bolts hold a slight lead, percentage-wise, over the Magnolia Pambansang Manok (7-3) and a half-game off San Miguel Beermen (6-3).
Magnolia and SMB clash on Sunday, Sept. 19, with the loser likely to lose its chance on the quarterfinal bonus and play a best-of-three instead.
That’s why the Bolts need a win to put pressure on the two San Miguel Corporation squads.
Meralco coach Norman Black expects his team to be shorthanded anew with key players Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge, among others, still under the league’s COVID-19 protocols.
Despite their absence, the Bolts marked their return from the said guidelines with a 95-83 victory over the Terrafirma Dyip two days earlier.
Alaska, fresh from its 89-74 rout of Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, sees action for the second straight day opposite league-leading TNT at 4:35 p.m.
The Aces, sitting in eighth at 3-4, seek a win over the Tropang Giga, who are already sure of the top seed and the twice-to-beat advantage in the playoffs after winning nine of 10 games.