02 June 2014

Bolts 88, Aces 87

Cliff Hodge
Meralco finally crashed the the win-column of the PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors Cup, no little thanks to a pair of hard-working players.

Cliff Hodge notched 20 points and 12 rebounds the come-backing Mike Cortez also helped make the big plays down the stretch as the Bolts squeaked past Alaska, 88-87, Sunday (1 June 2014) at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Mario West scored 21 points but it was the endgame fortitude displayed so well by Hodge and Cortez, plus a breakdown by the Aces in the game’s last play, which made the breakthrough win possible.

"It’s been a trying conference for us," admitted Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio, whose team opened up the season-ending conference with four straight losses and actually lost 6 in a row dating back to the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs. "This is really a big win for us, especially against a quality team like Alaska. The purpose is to stay alive. With this win, we were able to make ourselves relevant again in this conference."

The Bolts remained at the bottom of the standings, although now tied with idle Barako Bull. But Gregorio said the win should work wonders in terms of boosting team confidence.

"There are still a lot of games to be played and still have to make the winning plays at the end,” noted Gregorio. “With this, there’s enough reason for us to dream again, that we can still climb out of this hole. It’s not yet too late. As long as there’s a game to be played we will always compete."

Alaska could have stolen the win and avoided dropping to a 2-3 win-loss slate and a tie with idle Rain or Shine at sixth-running spot if not for a lapse by one of its most veteran players.

After the Aces regained possession with still 8.0 seconds left to play, Dondon Hontiveros inbounded to Henry Walker, who passed the back to Hontiveros at the left corner after drawing a double-team on a drive feint.

Taking Gary David away from play with a fake, and instead of pulling up for a jumper after one dribble, Hontiveros instead drove all the way in before kicking the ball out to Walker, who failed to put up a decent triple try at the buzzer.

Thus, for naught went Walker’s game-high 25 points, nine rebounds and an excellent defense on West, who was limited to just two charities in the fourth period.

Calvin Abueva added 17 points and JVee Casio 15, capped by a triple that brought Alaska within 84-86.

As balanced was the offense of Meralco, which drew 20 points and 12 rebounds from Hodge and 16 and eight from Reynel Hugnatan.

The biggest contributor for the Bolts, however, was Cortez, who finished with 19 points and five assists in his first game since sitting out the entire second conference due to a torn left medial collateral ligament.

"The past four months was so frustrating," said the playmaker acquired in an early season trade with Air21. "I’ve been dying and itching to get back. I just wanted to have fun tonight, I didn’t think about anything else. Our backs were against the wall. It’s the best time to play basketball."

Cortez’s presence also helped Meralco withstand the sidelining of Jared Dillinger, who suited up but was not fielded due to a recurring back injury.

The man nicknamed "Cool Cat" also drained two free throws that capped his eight-point quarter and made it an 88-84 count for the Bolts, a cushion that immediately got trimmed to just one following a Walker triple, still 10.6 ticks left.

Alaska then regained final possession after David lost the ball to the sideline following a West inbound. (NC)


  1. long time no hear. superb game by cliff"hanger" hodge & mike "cool cat" cortez.

  2. Sorry Jonski. Nagbakasyon muna. Tamang tama, pagbalik nakapanalo ang Bolts.

  3. sorry off topic boss kirhat, you have a link of rob parkers slamdunk contests?

  4. I used to have that jey in my other blog, but I'm not sure if it still there. It was a long time ago, but I must admit it was one of the exciting periods in the history of Sta. Lucia Realtors until they were able to secure K-Will from the draft.