17 August 2013

Bolts 89, Petron 83

Mario West
Despite just one practice session with Meralco, Mario West put up a solid job leading the team to a triumphant debut in the PBA Governors Cup.

West came through with 23 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and one block as the Bolts drubbed the Petron Blaze Boosters, 89-83, in the tourney’s initial play date at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday.

"He just had one practice but the first thing he said when he came in was 'coach, I can’t complain. I believe in situation where everybody works for the best,'" said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

"Even when he came late, he played tremendously especially on defense," added Gregorio of West, rushing from the US Thursday to take over from DJ Kennedy who measured above the 6-foot-5 ceiling for imports in the season-ending tourney.

Reynel Hugnatan, Chris Ross and Sunday Salvacion played their part as the Bolts overcame the Boosters despite their injury-riddled lineup.

"If the game is 12 on 12, we don’t stand a chance against mighty Petron. Good thing, it's 5 on 5. We're able to find our advantages and we pounced on it," said Gregorio.

Gregorio said they have to make do with their current lineup for at least the next four weeks.

"Mac Cardona and Jared Dillinger may be ready only by the third week of September," Gregorio said.

West sizzled with 20 points in the first half before slowing down in the third due to cramps.

There's no stopping the Bolts, though, with Hugnatan, Ross and Salvacion taking over in the last two quarters.

Hugnatan cut down to size Junmar Fajardo, Ross outworked and outplayed all his Petron counterparts while Salvacion made his presence felt knocking clutch three-pointers.

All three finished with at least 13 points each.

The Bolts got into the groove in the second quarter and got going in the third to surge ahead, 66-61, going into the final canto.

Petron Blaze came out stronger, leading by as many as 14 before taking the opening period at 28-16.

West and Ross fired eight points apiece as the Bolts established rhythm and outscored the Boosters, 23-13, in the second quarter.

Meralco closed in at 39-41 at the half.

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