Star and Meralco return to action in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday with a top-2 seed within their grasp.
The tournament co-leaders tangle at 7 p.m. at Araneta Coliseum, after the Alaska-NLEX tiff that tips off at 4:15 p.m.
Through most of its 1st 8 games, Meralco occupied the top of the standings by its lonesome, until an unlikely loss to GlobalPort on May 10 forced the Bolts to surrender their position.
Star has won 3 straight and, with Allein Maliksi and Jio Jalalon back from their stint with Gilas Pilipinas, the Hotshots get back their top local scorer (Maliksi) and promising playmaker (Jalalon).
|PBA Commissioner’s Cup|
|Standings (through May 24)|
|* Meralco||7||2||Star (May 24, Wed)|
|* Star||7||2||Mer (May 24, Wed)|
|* Ginebra||6||2||Bkw (May 26, Fri)|
|* San Miguel||6||2||Ala (May 27, Sat)|
|* TNT||7||3||ROS (May 28, Sun)|
|Rain Or Shine||5||4||Gpt (May 26, Fri)|
|Alaska||4||4||NLEX(May 24, Wed)|
|Phoenix||4||6||NLEX (May 27, Sat)|
|GlobalPort||3||6||ROS (May 26, Fri)|
|Mahindra||3||7||Gin (June 2, Fri)|
|Blackwater||2||7||Gin (May 26, Fri)|
|NLEX||0||9||Ala (May 24, Wed)|
|* – Quarterfinals
In bold — teams with games on May 24
Alex Stepheson, Meralco’s foreign reinforcement, is bullying his way to 22 points and almost 18 rebounds, numbers that are Best Import-worthy.
His counterpart at Star is Ricardo Ratliffe, who debuted with a 30-20 game in the Hotshots’ 10-point win over TNT.
Among its local players, Meralco will rely on the back-court duo of Chris Newsome and Baser Amer, together with forward Jared Dillinger.
At Star, Paul Lee and Mark Barroca are two guys to watch, too.
The teams that land in the top 2 will get a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
One team that looked like a safe bet to achieve that was Alaska, which started the tournament with a 4-0 record but has lost 4 straight since.
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