21 July 2011

Bolts 81, Powerade 86

Bolts vs Powerade
The Powerade Tigers found a reason to celebrate even if they didn't make the playoffs.

On Celino Cruz's heroics, the Tigers brought down the curtains on their season and finished their campaign in the PBA Governors' Cup with an 86-81 victory against the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday (20 July 2011) at the Araneta Coliseum.

Cruz scored only five points but his 3-point shot – his only basket in the fourth quarter – with 32 seconds remaining shoved Powerade ahead for good after Meralco tied the game at 81-81 on a steal and a lay-up by Sol Mercado with 45 seconds to play.

Their fourth victory in eight games in the elimination round landed the Tigers in a tie for fifth to seventh spots with B-Meg and the loser of the other game between Rain or Shine and Barangay Ginebra.

Aside from the Elasto Painters and the Kings, Talk 'N Text, Petron Blaze, Alaska and B-Meg had already secured their places in the six-team, carryover semi-finals either by superior win-loss records or by the quirks of the quotient system.

"I'm proud of the way we finished this conference. For the longest time, this is just the conference where we finished with a 50 percent winning percentage," noted Powerade coach Bo Perasol, whose team also won its first back-to-back games of the season – in its final two games.

Coming off a 105-81 rout of the Boosters last Friday, Powerade finished the 2010-11 season with a 9-22 (win-loss) record, its worst in franchise history.

The Tigers' previous worst season was when they went 14-27 during the 2006-07 season.

"It's a pity we didn't make the semis. Technically, we are out because of the quotient system and we can't do anything about that. So now we just have to take a break and find a way to rebuild the team. But I'm proud of what we achieved this conference," Perasol said.

An ugly incident happened in the closing seconds of the third quarter when Powerade shooting guard Gary David and Meralco’s Ogie Menor figured in a skirmish and eventually drew "Ts" from the game official.

David eventually scored 17 points to show the way for the Tigers, who netted 27 points on 19 Meralco turnovers. Import Chris Porter added 15 and grabbed 16 rebounds while Chico Lanete added 14 markers and five assists.

Meralco import Champ Oguchi, reactivated to replace the injured Tim Pickett, led all scorers with 27 points but committed six turnovers.

Mercado tallied 20 and dished off five assists while Mark Cardona, who returned to the line-up after being sidelined for most of the conference by a calf muscle injury, added 13 points.

The Bolts finished the conference with a 3-5 record and 13-20 mark in its maiden season in the league. (DBC)

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