12 December 2014

Bolts 77, Hotshots 65

Jared Dillinger
The Meralco Bolts knocked out Purefoods of the Philippine Cup playoffs, 77-65, ending the Hotshots' string of four straight PBA titles on Thursday (11 December 2014) at Cuneta Astrodome.

"Huge win for Meralco's program," said coach Norman Black, who took over the Bolts before the season. "For 12 hours, I just want to enjoy this victory."

With the victory, the Bolts set up a knockout showdown against the Alaska Aces for a spot in the semifinals.

Purefoods entered the final frame with only an eight-point deficit to work with, but Meralco's freethrows fueled a 15-6 run to bump the lead to 17 with 4:31 remaining. The Hotshots responded with makes from James Yap, PJ Simon and Marc Pingris, while a pair of Mark Barroca freethrows trimmed the lead to 10 entering the final 78 seconds of the game.

Misses from Jared Dillinger and Mike Cortez gave Purefoods room for a combeack, but a Joe Devance miss from deep doomed the Hotshots.

Jared Dillinger led Meralco with 14 points, while Cliff Hodge had 12. James Sena came off the bench for 11 points off a perfect 5 of 5 clip from the field. Mike Cortez also added 11.

Meralco connected on 29 of 65 attempts for almost a 45 percent shooting clip. Meanwhile, Purefoods struggled to convert, hitting only 22 of 61 tries for 36 percent.

Joe Devance led Purefoods with 21 points, while James Yap struggled with 14 points off a 6 of 17 shooting clip. Marc Pingris only had five points with his 11 rebounds, while PJ Simon struggled with a 2 of 9 clip, also for just five markers. Mark Barroca came off the bench with 12 points.

Purefoods won last season's Grand Slam as the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers. But the team has struggled for form all tournament long, stumbling to a 6-5 record for the seventh seed. Because of an inferior quotient, the Hotshot had to go into the matchup with Meralco with a twice-to-win disadvantage.

Purefoods also made the earliest exit by a defending champion in a tournament since Alaska in the 2008 Fiesta Conference. Ironically, both teams were coached by Cone.

No comments:

Post a Comment