Bolts begin stacked schedule vs Gilas

Olmin Leyba -
September 18, 2023 | 7:02pm
Bolts begin stacked schedule vs Gilas
Raymond Almazan of the Meralco Bolts in action versus Magnolia in this file photo.
PBA Images

MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant – 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 Tuesday when they face the Asian Games-bound Nationals in a tune-up at the Inspire Sports Academy.

This is to be followed by a face-off with fellow PBA club Phoenix, after which Luigi Trillo’s charges go international in the Doha International Basketball Championship.

Set September 25-30, 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,” Trillo said of the killer schedule.

“Seven games in nine days so it’s going to be tough and uncomfortable. But that’s what we want. We want to let them feel that and I think it will bring out what they’re about.”

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.

“It depends on how they can perform. I think Bates is a sure thing then kailangan tignan si Mendoza and then the other three guys, we’ll see how they fit in, what we can get in terms of good attitude, hustle, intensity. But for sure, we need bodies kasi maraming games,” said the Bolts mentor.

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 with Hunt.

"Alam naman natin ang labanan sa EASL so we’ll have to see if we can get one more import," said Trillo.

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