Friday, October 28, 2011

Meralco bolts Gives Alaska 5th Setback in the PBA

Meralco again banked on its defense down the stretch to complete a come-from-behind 81-75 win over Alaska Friday night for its first back-to-back wins in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Nelbert Omolon had two crucial defensive boards and forced Cyrus Baguio to a critical turnover in the final minute to help the Bolts preserved their fourth win in six games while keeping the Aces without a win after five starts.

Chico Lanete led Meralco in scoring with 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, while Mark Isip and the comebacking Mark Cardona each had 10 apiece for the Bolts.

“We wanted to make sure that we build on our character. The challenge for us is to win against a team which is struggling,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

“We took care of the rebounding and that goes to show the kind of game and intensity we displayed in this game.”

Omolon, Sol Mercado and Gabby Espinas each had eight markers for the Bolts, who trailed 56-52 going into the final quarter.

But Lanete keyed Meralco’s strong start in the fourth period and conspired with Cardona to put their team in front at 72-68 with 4:56 remaining.

Baguio hit a triple to push the Aces within one, but Cardona hit a 10-foot teardrop shot to give Meralco some breathing room, 76-73.

Baguio followed up Sonny Thoss’s missed drive, before Mercado split his free throws in the next play to give the Bolts a slim 77-75 lead with 58.2 seconds remaining.

Omolon then collared a key rebound off Tony dela Cruz’s missed side jumper. After Lanete came up empty in the ensuing play, Baguio threw away a crucial possession as he lost grip of the ball while trying to attack the defense of Omolon.

That led to Espinas’s two free throws, 79-75, and Taulava sealed the win with a putback on Omolon’s two missed free throws.

Thoss led all scorers with 19 points while Baguio added 18. Jay-R Reyes netted 11 points for Alaska, which fell to 0-5.

The scores:

MERALCO 81 – Lanete 17, Isip 10, Cardona 10, Mercado 8, Espinas 8, Omolon 8, Macapagal 7, Borboran 4, Taulava 4, Ballesteros 3, Yee 2, Faundo 0.

ALASKA 75 – Thoss 19, Baguio 18, Reyes 11, Dela Cruz 8, Tenorio 7, Baracael 4, Custodio 4, Mepana 2, Cablay 2, Eman 0.

Quarterscores: 20-19, 36-36, 52-56, 81-75

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