Meralco braces for seven games in nine days

THE MERALCO Bolts will be one busy team with seven games in a span of nine days, including one against Gilas Pilipinas, in their plate.

The Bolts’ grueling schedule begins today when they face the Asian Games-bound Nationals in a tuneup at the Inspire Sports Academy.

This is to be followed by a faceoff with fellow PBA club Phoenix then Luigi Trillo’s charges go international in the Doha International Basketball Championship.

Set Sept. 25 to 30, the Qatar meet tests the Feron Hunt-reinforced Bolts against multi-titled Sagesse of Lebanon, Beirut Club, Zamalek of Egypt, FUS Rabat of Morocco, AL Ahli SC of Qatar, Diljah of Iraq and Al Ahly of Libya.

“I think it’s good for us. We’ll get a lot of experience,” Mr. Trillo said of the killer schedule.

Mr. Trillo added that Meralco’s eighth overall pick Brandon Bates might get his baptism of fire in this stretch. Ditto Jolo Mendoza and even late selections Zach Huang, Jessie Sumoda and Shean Jackson, if they can prove themselves in practice.

After this hectic nine-day slate, the Bolts will debut in the East Asia Super League, where they will be ranged against Japan champs Ryukyu Golden Kings, Korea’s Seoul SK Knights and New Taipei Kings in Group B.

To be competitive in this, Meralco, a replacement for Barangay Ginebra, has to sign up a second import to partner. — Olmin Leyba