MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts will play with a new import when they face off against the Powerade Tigers in the PBA Commissioners’ Cup Sunday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
Earl Barron will make his debut as the Bolts' new import, and Sol Mercado will also be reactivated from the injured list.
Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio told PBA.ph that those two players will help boost their bench depth.
"With six games left, it is critical that we have a full arsenal at our disposal," Gregorio said.
"We are fast-tracking our development and I hope that Earl and Sol can play solid teamwork with the rest of the team," he added.
The Bolts are currently have a 1-2 record and are sitting an eighth place in the league standings. They are coming off an overtime loss against the Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters, 102-96.
Gregorio is hoping that bringing in Barron and Mercado will put the Bolts in a better position to make the playoffs.
"The more games we play, our number of wins must increase. With a format like this, we cannot afford to be two wins below .500,"” he said.
Barron, a seven-footer, played for Red Bull in 2005 and has played for various NBA teams as well.
But he and the Bolts will be matched up against a dangerous Powerade team that parades a strong import in Dwayne Jones.
Jones made an immediate impact, tallying 34 points and 21 rebounds in Powerade's 122-120 victory over Rain or Shine last February 17.
"The key when you play Powerade is playing defense. They scored 122 (points) last time, simply too much for a 48-minute game," Gregorio said. "We need to make sure that they do not get their rhythm offensively."
Powerade head coach Bo Perasol, for his part, said the Tigers will come into the game with a sense of urgency.
"Every game is a playoff game for us. There should always be a sense of urgency on our part knowing that this is going to be a short tournament," he said.