05 July 2012

Bolts 94, Powerade 86

Asi Taulava
Meralco Bolts finally realized a coveted goal in its relatively young PBA existence but only after overcoming a mighty stand by a hobbled Powerade crew.

The Bolts scored a hard-earned 94-86 victory over the Tigers Wednesday (4 July 2012) to advance to the semifinal round of the Govenors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mario West 26 points and Macmac Cardona 24 in leading the Bolts' sustained charge in the second half and into their first-ever semis stint in their six-conference existence in the league.

"The hardest is always the breakthrough," said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, whose team lost the chance to make it outright following a 79-81 loss to Barako Bull last Sunday.

"We were not able to nail it against Barako, but we'll not let it get away again," he added.

Omar Sneed had gamehighs of 29 points and 15 rebounds but Gary David was the only other double digit scorer for Powerade, which officially wound up the season-ending conference at seventh.

There is going to little time for celebration for Meralco, however, as it immediately starts the five-game semis against Barangay Ginebra Friday with a 4-5 win-loss slate as against the Kings' 5-4.

"We're familiar with the things that are required of us, which is nothing less than a sweep or at least 4-of-5," said Gregorio, the latter referring to the incentive of playing off for the second finals slot given to a team which wins four of five games.

Already bothered by a suspected arthritis on his left foot, David was further stymied by West to just a 6-for-20 field shooting, although he did finish with 22 points.

Much like what Powerade did in its 99-95 win over Barako Bull just the day before, Meralco took control with a big third quarter surge before fending off the Tigers' protracted uprisings in the end.

West, Cardona and Reynel Hugnatan were at the forefront of the Bolts' drive to a 67-54 spread, with Asi Taulava taking care of the boards and even pulling off two blocks on Sneed in one sequence.

Playing back-to-back must-win games in as many days seemed to have taken its toll on Powerade as it could not muster the needed energy that would have gotten it over the hump after drawing within
86-90, still 1:32 left.

Meralco, on the other hand, took care of its own end of the business with West scoring on an off-balanced drive and Cardona hooking in a twinner that gave the Bolts a safe 94-86 spread, only 36.5 ticks remaining.

The lack of another inside presence could have helped, but Rabeh Al-Hussaini again did not see action due to his own sore foot.

The Tigers dominated the boards, 51-42, but the Bolts were able to score on a total 42 points off fastbreaks and turnovers.

David could not duplicate his hot start that boosted Powerade to a 25-18 lead after the first quarter while Cardona and West waxed hot as the game progressed, yet the Tigers held on for a 45-44 edge at the half.

Casio made it possible, beating the shotclock with a long triple following a midcourt jump ball.

Concentrating mostly on stifling David, West got his offensive going only in the second quarter where he scattered nine points, including a free throw that gave Meralco the upper hand 44-42.

Along the way, West effectively cuffed David to just a a 1-for-7 field shooting in the same quarter.

His injured left foot shot full of painkillers David went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field – all from beyond the arc – for 15 points in the game's first six minutes and also played some defense on Cardona.(NC)

No comments:

Post a Comment