20 December 2010

Bolts 97, BMeg 106

Bolts vs BMeg
B-Meg Derby Ace lost a 16 point advantage and once again turned to PJ Simon for his late game heroics to weather the challenge of the resilient Meralco Bolts,106-97, in double overtime Friday (17 December 2010) in Game 1 of their PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series at the Araneta Coliseum.

The hyperactive guard, who was ejected during the last game between these two teams in the elimination round, collected 31 points, including two clutch baskets in the second extra period to put away the pesky Bolts.

"Our guards really stepped up tonight," said Derby Ace coach Jorge Gallent referring to his backcourt triumvirate of Simon, Jonas Villanueva (18 points) and veteran Roger Yap (nine points) who outscored the Bolts, 15-6, in the second overtime.

The Llamados, who are aiming to become the first team in 25 years to repeat as all-Filipino champs, can wrap up the best-of-three series on Wednesday (22 December 2010).

No team has won successive all-Filipino titles since Great Taste achieved the feat in 1984 and 1985 under the stewardship of the legendary Virgilio "Baby" Dalupan.

James Yap scored 27 points but fouled with 2:53 to play in the first overtime with Meralco ahead, 89-87.

"I was surprised. They [Bolts] were supposed to be tired. But it was us who looked more tired," Gallent observed.

The Llamados appeared headed for an easy win when they went on a 21-11 run during a eight minute span in the second quarter and James Yap opened the third with a short jumper for a 52-36 advantage.

But they lost their focus and loosened their defense after that allowing the Bolts to slowly claw back into the game.

The Bolts had worked three overtimes before dispatching Rain or Shine on Wednesday at the close of the elimination round and had hardly recovered their energy.

But their determination to reach new heights and prove they belong in this league allowed them to stay in the game.

But going two more overtimes was simply too much for the young Bolts team and their wobbly legs.

Macmac Cardona had 30 points including 14 in the third quarter as Meralco battled back from that 16-point deficit and pulled to within four points going into the fourth quarter. Cardona also had nine rebounds but had 11 turnovers, the most by any player this conference.

Eight straight points by Gabby Espinas (20 points, 11 rebounds) gave Meralco its first taste of the lead, 78-76 , midway in the fourth.

After Cardona made a 3-pointer for an 87-86 Meralco lead with 43 seconds left in regulation, James Yap had a chance to win it for Derby Ace when he went to the line 13 seconds later but he split his free throws, forcing overtime.

The defending champions appeared in trouble in the first over time when Mark Isip made two free throws and Hans Thiele scored on a tip in to give the Bolts a 91-87 lead.

But the Bolts blew their chance to win it by committing two costly turnovers that allowed the Llamados to force the second overtime.

Meralco committed 23 turnovers the entire game.(DBC)

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