19 March 2012

Bolts, 82, Bull 89

Barako Bull
Rodney White came through with the tournament's first triple double, Wynne Arboleda sizzled from the three-point area, Danny Seigle brought back the hands of time and Willie Miller showed everyone he is a former two-time Most Valuable Player as Barako Bull put the pieces together in the second half to beat Meralco, 89-82 in another Phoenix Fuel-PBA On Tour road game of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Mindanao Civic Center Gym Saturday ( 17 March 2012) in Tubod, Lanao del Norte.

The Energy, who improved to 3-4, were listless in the first half, particularly the second period as they allowed the Bolts to erect a 15-point advantage.

But after the halftime powwow, Barako Bull entered the third quarter with the desired energy as they obliterated the Meralco lead and came to within a point.

Seigle started the comeback bid of the Energy who opened the third period with five straight points, trimming Meralco's led to 43-34.

Meralco momentarily checked the Barako Bull rally with Earl Barron canning six points to give the Bolts at 50-38 advantage, 6:28 left.

But Barako Bull kept on coming back with Arboleda and Mick Pennisi hitting treys to whittle the lead down to three points, 54-51.

Meralco coach Paul Ryan Gregorio shuffled his backcourt and sent Solomon Mercado and Chris Timberlake in for Mark Cardona and Chris Ross. Mercado hit back-to-back baskets to ease the pressure for a while, 58-51.

But Barako Bull closed out the quarter with an 8-2 swing to move to within a point, 60-59 entering the final canto.

Barako Bull eventually overtook Meralco, 66-64, 9:09 to go on a triple by Arboleda who made five howitzers all in all on a 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc.

From there, the Bolts groped for form the rest of the way.

Cardona, who was recently named Accel-PBA Player of the Week for averaging 25 points in the last two games won by the Bolts, was held to only eight points. He made six in the first half and added two when the outcome was already beyond doubt.

White, a replacement for Dermarr Johnson who suffered a groin injury in the Energy's game against Rain or shine in Dubai, United Arab Emirates last month, put together 18 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists

Miller only had one point in the first half but erupted for 16 points in the second half as he mocked the defense of Ross.

Meralco now has a 3-5 slate and is faced with a must-win situation against Air21 on Friday.

The Bolts started out cold with Cardona and Barron missing quite a number of shots early in the first quarter.

Miller opened the game with split free throws followed by a medium range jumper from White before Gabby Espinas finally succeeded in putting in the first basket for the Bolts.

From a 3-6 deficit, Barako Bull rattled off seven straight points keyed by a triple from Ronald Tubid to lead, 10-6, 4:17 remaining in the quarter.

From there, Cardona and Barron found their range as they worked with Mercado who came off the bench to give Meralco a 19-13 advantage at the end of the first 12 minutes of play.

Barron was rested for more than five minutes in at the start of the second period. But even with their import sitting on the bench, the Meralco locals held the fort and slowly pulled away, 28-19, 8:12 remaining in the second quarter.

With Barron back on the floor, the Bolts pulled away and were up by 15 at the halftime interval, 43-28. Barron even came through with a buzzer beater to wind up the period.

It didn't help Barako Bull that the Energy were outrebounded by the Bolts in the first half, 37-25.

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