20 August 2013

Bolts 89, Barako 90

Barako Monfort
Barako Bull active consultant Rajko Toroman was giving the chunk of a credit to a huge inside presence, but his finger should also have been pointed to a much smaller target.

Eman Monfort complemented Mike Singletary's fine game with an exceptional one of his own in helping the Energy nip Meralco, 90-89, Sunday (18 August 2013) in the PBA Governors' Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Singletary scored a team-high 28 points, Monfort added a career-high 22 and Pena came off the bench to provide the much-needed inside presence that prompted Toroman to give him most of the credit for the win that came on the heels of a 113-118 overtime loss to Talk ‘N Text last Friday.

"Dorian changed everything," pointed out Toroman of his 6-6 center who sat out the TNT game due to an injured left hand.

"He made us tougher defensively. He did a good job rebounding, some great passes inside," added Toroman.

Utilized only in the second half Pena did not even take a single attempt from the field and missed the only two charities he was awarded, but finished with seven points and two assists and helped clog the lane for Meralco’s penetrators and frontliners.

Mario West wound up with a game-high 33 points but made only five of his 16 shots in the second half. His woes were highlighted by back-to-back muffed drives inside the last 17 seconds that would have turned the game Meralco’s way.

When West faded so did the rest of the Bolts as they failed to hold on to as much as an eight-point lead in the early goings and ultimately got foiled in their bid to follow up their 89-83 win over Petron Blaze also last Friday.

Reynel Hugnatan had 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, but he only had four markers in the second half. Sunday Salvacion added 12 points but missed his first four triples tries and became a non-factor in the late stages.

John Wilson tried to provide help by scoring all nine of his points in the second half, but he only had one in the playoff canto.

Singletary, meanwhile, laced his performance with 14 rebounds and Monfort, who only had a grand total of 23 points in his first five games in the league, added another career highwater mark of seven rebounds to his 8-for-10 field shooting.

What made the 5-foot-6 1/16 Monfort stand out is the fact he played just the first five minutes of the game before sitting out the entire first half due to foul trouble, but returned with a vengeance in the second half by scoring four of the Energy’s last six points.

The last of those baskets was an elbow jumper that made it a 90-87 count, which West immediately trimmed to just one with a followup, 41.5 seconds left.

Monfort would have been the goat as he failed to fully orchestrate Barako's next thrust, forcing him to launch a three-point shot from way out that barely grazed the front rim and gave Meralco possession, 16.9 seconds remaining.

West, however, failed to connect on a drive off Keith Jensen and the same thing happened after Pena’s charity misses in the last 8.7 seconds.

Danny Seigle came off the bench to chip in 12 points, six coming in the fourth period that helped Barako’s fightback from a 72-79 deficit and into the last deadlock at 79.

Control was first seized by Meralco in the second period, with West’s alley-oop dunk off Chris Ross’ find making it a 41-33 game and the Bolts sustained the charge for a 49-41 halftime lead.

Despite Salvacion coming alive Barako kept plugging away through Singletary and Monfort, who had 11 in the third period and helped pull the Energy within 66-67. (NC)

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