07 April 2011

Bolts 91, SMART 87

Bolts vs SMART
Out of the playoff picture, Meralco salvaged some measure of pride and respect in repulsing Smart Gilas in its farewell game in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.

The Bolts battled like they’re fighting for the championship, upending the Nationals, 91-87, in overtime in the last leg of the Phoenix Fuel PBA on Tour at the Tacloban Convention Center on 2 April 2011.

Champ Oguchi poured in 10 of his 21 points in the extra period leading the Bolts to the win that gave them a closing 3-6 win-loss record in the mid-season tourney.

Smart Gilas, on the other hand, wound up with a 7-2 card, opening opportunity for Talk n Text (7-1) to gain top honors at the close of the short one-round-robin elimination phase.

But whatever is the result of the Talk n Text game, the Texters and the Nationals are assured of the top two spots that reward them outside seeding in the semifinals.

Despite that, the Nationals also waged a big fight but fell short in their bid versus the determined Meralco team.

The Bolts squandered a six-point lead at the finish in regulation play but kept their poise, composure and aggressive stand to beat the Nationals in OT.

Up by only two at 89-87 in the closing seconds, Meralco made a crucial defensive stoppage then ran a quick transition play with Oguchi at the finishing end as the Bolts preserved the win.

The Bolts fought the Nationals toe-to-toe with Sol Mercado, Reynel Hugnatan, Macmac Cardona and Gabby Espinas also delivering big numbers for the team.

They shook off a slow start, rallying from a 10-point deficit in the first quarter and engaging the Bolts in a furious battle to the end.

The Nationals forced the extension play as it fought back from 74-80 down in the last two minutes on clutch baskets by Jayvee Casio and Marcus Douthit.

In an attempt to send the game into second OT, the Nationals also went to Casio in their final play.

The former La Salle Archer, however, missed on a drive then Douthit muffed a tip-in.

A good tap by Reynel Hugnatan sent the ball to Chris Ross whom then pushed it to Oguchi for an uncontested shot making it 91-87 with only 10 ticks left. (SB)

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