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Jul 11, 2019

NorthPort eyes shot at number one spot vs. back-to-the wall Meralco

A team that has never finished better than fourth in any tourney in franchise history, NorthPort eyes a shot at No. 1 spot in the 2019 PBA Governors Cup eliminations, looking for a closing 9-2 win-loss card as it takes on back-to-the-wall Meralco at the Cuneta Astrodome Friday night.

The Batang Pier set out for the 7 p.m. setto chasing that feat although they're assured of a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals in their current position at second place.

Coach Pido Jarencio said they would go for the best position that they can have and build momentum that they can ride on going to the playoffs.

NorthPort takes pole position if it ends up tied with TNT KaTropa by virtue of the winner-over-the-other rule.

Meanwhile, Meralco is in a must-win situation after dropping its last four games, including its last outing against Magnolia even with the arrival of new import Delroy James.

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Now at 10th place with a 3-6 card, the Bolts must sweep their last two games against the Batang Pier and the San Miguel Beermen for a chance to get into the Top Eight.

But coach Norman Black is not looking far ahead, saying they should first focus against the NorthPort which is at its all-time best.

The Batang Pier secured a sure top two finish in nipping Columbian Dyip, 110-108, on July 5 despite the absence of do-it-all ace forward Sean Anthony.

Moala Tautuaa and his teammates seem to have got a better chemistry on the arrival of Kevin Ferrer, Sol Mercado and Jervy Cruz in exchange for Stanley Pringle.

The Bolts, on the other hand, have yet to get into the groove.

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James definitely must step up if he's to help get the Bolts out of the doldrums.
In his debut, James made 34 points but pulled down only 10 boards, and they were beaten badly by the Hotshots in rebounding.

With the Meralco locals struggling, the Bolts dropped their match against the Hotshots, 88-99. It's Meralco's fourth in a row following earlier defeats at the hands of NLEX, TNT and Alaska.

The Bolts have been idle since June 29, and they hope they've done their assignment to break their slump versus the Batang Pier. (SB)