01 November 2012

Bolts 99, Barako Bull 86

Bolts' Buenafe
The Meralco Bolts have embraced the identity of being a defensive team, taking pride in being one.

Against Barako Bull, Meralco set a particular goal of limiting the Energy Cola to 20 points or less in each quarter.

The Bolts were on target in the first three periods, paving the way for an easy 99-86 win over the Energy Cola that gave them a share of second place in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night (31 October 2012).

"We pretty much made sure to match the emotion of Barako Bull (after its sorry loss to San Mig Coffee the last time out). The best way really is to play defense," said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

"Obviously, we're lacking on ceiling but we’re compensating on quickness," Gregorio also said.

The Bolts held the Energy Cola to 59 points in the first 36 minutes of play and also did their job on the offensive end as they notched a second straight win and drew level with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, the Alaska Milk Aces and the San Mig Coffee Mixers at 4-2.

Sol Mercado and Ronjay Buenafe nailed a triple each and combined for a total of 38 points as Meralco handed Barako Bull a fifth loss against two wins.

"Sol and Ronjay did a good job helping us get a big lead and later manage the lead. Overall, it’s a great effort enabling us to be at 4-2 – a good way to start the season," Gregorio said.

Mark Cardona and Reynel Hugnatan also put in double-digit outputs for the Bolts who led by as many as 24 before completing their follow-up on their 85-72 thrashing of the Air21 Express the last time out.

The Bolts' 10—day respite hardly affected the team's sharpness.

Instead, the Bolts showed great energy and intensity, taking a 53-40 halftime lead that they stretched to 78-59 after three quarters.

Meralco established control before the halftime break as Mercado caught fire, scoring 16 of his 22 in the second quarter.

On the other end, the Bolts' effort was most apparent in holding Ronald Tubid scoreless in the first 24 minutes of play.

Barako Bull's woes was compounded by the ouster by Mick Pennisi in the third quarter on flagrant infraction.

Josh Urbiztondo and Doug Kramer paced the losing team with 14 each.

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