Preview: Gilas trio returns for TNT vs Meralco

Enzo Flojo
Talk N' Text's Gilas trio returns for their important matchup vs Meralco.

HE'S BACK. Castro returns to PBA action. File photo by PBA Images/Nuki Sabio. 

Meralco Bolts (1-2) vs Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters (1-1)

Why Meralco will win: Cliff Hodge might just have gotten his groove back after registering 16 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal in Meralco’s loss to Ginebra last Saturday. Despite the trade rumors, he has continued to play really well, and should he continue to produce great numbers, then the Bolts have a chance.

Why Talk N Text will win: Three Gilas boys are set to come back tonight for coach Norman Black, and their presence should be a major factor. Ranidel De Ocampo, Larry Fonacier, and FIBA Asia 2013 All-Star Jayson Castro are all set to return to the Texters’ fold after missing the first 2 games. I am expecting all three to play really well against sister team Meralco.

Key Match-ups:

Reynel Hugnatan (15.3ppg, 9.3rpg, 1.0bpg, 47.6 FG%) vs Sean Anthony (22.0ppg, 6.5rpg, 3.5spg, 46.7 3pt%, 48.5 FG%)

Hugnatan has been having a great conference so far, but he will have his hands full against the motivated and versatile Sean Anthony. Anthony has been pretty much effective wherever he is on the floor, and the older and slower Hugnatan will probably have trouble keeping up and closing out when Anthony attempts those long toms. And with RDO back in the fold, wow, it’s going to be tough for Meralco to pick its poison.

X-Factor:

Jayson Castro

Coming off a splendid showing in the 2013 FIBA Asia, Castro is expected to be one of the most productive, if not dominant, players this conference. I suspect he will have to make some adjustments early in the game, but once he settles in, then he shouldn’t have much problem running the show for the Tropang Texters.

What this game means: Both teams are coming off double-digit losses, and both would do well to bounce back with a W tonight. A win for Meralco means they return to the middle of the pack and remain in the thick of a quarterfinal berth, while a TNT victory should serve notice that the Texters are no longer holding anything back. – Rappler.com

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