Bolts to face RoS Elasto Painters in a big match
by rick olivares
When the Meralco Bolts face the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters on Wednesday, August 10, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the game will take on a greater urgency.
After starting off the Governors’ Cup with two wins — over Phoenix Petroleum and Alaska, the Bolts are now reeling with two consecutive losses, first to Talk ’N Text and then to Barangay Ginebra.
The losses in large part are due to the injury suffered by American reinforcement Allen Durham after taking an elbow to the nose by Alaska center Sonny Thoss. During Meralco’s match versus TNT, the six-foot-six Durham looked uncomfortable with the protective face gear he wore. That also seemed to bother him in their next game against Barangay Ginebra as Meralco took it on the chin for its second consecutive loss.
During Meralco’s first two wins, Durham averaged 34.0 points, 18.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks shots as opposed to 5.0 turnovers. He is currently seventh in the league in scoring.
In the two-game slide, his numbers have drastically gone down - 15.5 points, 13.8 rebounds, and 0.5 steals. Durham somewhat compensated by dishing 6.2 assists, blocking more shots to 2.5, and conceding fewer turnovers, 4.0.
According to some sources, the injury has greatly bothered the Michigan native that even during practices, he’s dropped a lot of balls.
According to team manager Paolo Trillo, Durham “is three weeks away from fully healing. He has his nose broken three minutes into the first quarter of the game versus Alaska.”
Now all of a sudden, the Bolts, one of the favorites to contend for the season-ending crown, are teetering. The game against tough Rain or Shine a crucial one. In this conference, teams compete in a single round robin format where the top eight teams advance to the knockout quarterfinals. The four remaining squads battle in a best-of-five semi-finals series while the finals will be a best-of-seven affair.
The Elasto Painters currently tote a 2-1 record and are coming off a 98-92 win over BlackWater Elite. However, before game day Wednesday, they will have had an 11-day lay-off. The Bolts will also have the same concerns as they have been off for 10 days due to the All-Star Break. The break however gives more time for Durham to heal.
Durham Tweeted his feelings last August Three when he said, “Always hated long breaks between games but it feels good to be in the gym getting better."