16 April 2014

Bolts 88, Mixers 78

Darnell Jackson
Meralco came out smoking in the second half, unleashing a decisive 18-2 run to pull away en route to an 88-78 victory over San Mig Super Coffee that guaranteed the Bolts a Top Six finish in the PLDT Home TVolution PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last 14 April 2014.

Darnell Jackson, Jared Dillinger and Gary David anchored Meralco's third-quarter breakaway that carried the Bolts to a 5-4 win-loss card in the elims.

Jackson closed out with 31 points and 18 rebounds while Dillinger and David added 21 and 18 markers for Meralco, which secured a spot in the best-of-three quarterfinals.

"We wanted to put our spirit to the test against a champion team and we were rewarded with a victory primarily with the effort rendered,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

"Against San Mig Coffee, you can't just show up and expect to win. You have to go out with effort and above-average intelligence," Gregorio also said. "We did that and we hit our modest goal to be in the three to six spots."

Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer (6-2) and Alaska (5-3) were the two teams left to fight it out for No. 2 spot on San Mig Coffee’s defeat.

The Mixers slid to joint fifth with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at 4-4 with the Air21 Express and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel right behind them at 3-5.

Coach Tim Cone and his troops have lost four of their last five games – the last two minus the injury-hit Marc Pingris.

Against the Bolts, the Mixers terribly missed Pingris – someone who could've helped James Mays neutralize Jackson.

"For tonight's game, it's fantastic to have Darnell. In the first half, I asked him to guard (James) Mays. In the second half, I played him off the ball and told him to get all the possible rebounds. He did more than that and we’re really happy to have him on board," said Gregorio.

Jackson came through with nine points, eight rebounds, two assists and one steal in the third period.

He asserted himself as the Bolts unraveled an 18-2 run to open a 57-43 spread in that quarter.

The Bolts closed the third at 66-58 then also rode the exploits of Jackson, Dillinger, David and Rey Hugnatan to complete the key victory.

Hugnatan sustained a nasty cut on left eyebrow in a strong collision with Mays in the third period. But he refused to be stitched right away, opting to return to play in the payoff period.

The former University of Manila Hawk contributed eight rebounds, six points, three assists and one steal in 37 minutes of action. (SB)

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