28 February 2012

Bolts 82, Powerade 94

Bolts vs Powerade
Not even a new import and a returning star player could power Meralco over Powerade's persistence.

Making the much-needed push at the right time, the Tigers overcame the Bolts, 94-82, Sunday (26 February 2012) to grab at least a share of the early lead in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Gary David wound up with a game-high 29 points and drew plenty of help from Dwayne Jones, Sean Anthony and Marcio Lassiter in a big second half surge that enabled Powerade to notch its second straight come-from-behind win.

It was his Tigers' efforts on the other end of the court that pleased coach Bo Perasol more, however.

"They know we just have to be decent in defense as today and I don't think we will have any problem going into every game," said Perasol. "With the presence of some very good offensive players, the question on this team is how can we make stops when necessary."

Powerade showed it has that capability by holding Meralco to a 1-for-9 field shooting and into committing six turnovers in the first six minutes of the fourth period to post an 83-73 spread from a 68-all deadlock.

The Bolts started unraveling right there and the Tigers went on to jack up their lead to a high of 94-81 before formally scoring the follow-up to their 122-120 win over Rain or Shine in their mid-season tourney debut last Feb. 17.

"I think they now have the confidence that we can go up against any team and they also understand now how to make wins," said Perasol.

2005 Fiesta Conference Red Bull import Earl Barron scored 22 points and had 18 rebounds in his first game back but Meralco still absorbed its second straight loss and third in four games overall to drop into the company of tail-enders Rain or Shine and Barako Bull.

Sidelined by a minor knee surgery in Meralco's first three games, Sol Mercado finally saw action. But he shot just 1-for-6 from the field and his three assists were offset by as many turnovers in 22 minutes of action.

Limited to just six points in the first half, Marcio Lassiter sprang back with 13 in the last two quarters while Jones contributed 15 points, 14 rebounds and a conference-high six shotblocks, four in the decisive period.

Gabby Espinas had 19 points and seven rebounds for Meralco before fouling out with still 2:04 left while Macmac Cardona was the lone other Bolt in double digits with 13.

JVee Casio finished with 14 points and seven assists, with seven of his points coming during a four minute-span in the third period, when Powerade gave a glimpse of what was to come.

Jones added five points, including a rim-rattling dunk, and Lassiter and David three each during an 18-5 exchange from a 50-57 count that gave the Tigers their first taste of the lead since starting the game at 1-0.

A triple each by Mark Macapagal and Mercado pegged the game's first and only deadlock at 68, but it was clear that momentum was already on Powerade's side.

Barron already had 15 points and 11 boards at the half, enabling Meralco to gain the upper hand right in the very first minute and take a 47-42 lead at the turn.

Cardona did his share with 10 points and Espinas chipped in eight while Paul Artadi came off the bench in the second period to drain two triples in helping keep Powerade at bay.

The Tigers would not go away, however. With David scattering 17 points of his own, they kept yapping at the Bolts' heels and were within just a point twice, the last at 42-43.

Barron actually started hot with 10 markers in the opening quarter and his three-point play pegged the game's biggest difference yet at 13-5. (NC)

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