28 June 2015

Bolts 106, Beermen 99

Big Game Bolts
Seventh ranked Meralco fought with grit and guts all night long and stunned second seed San Miguel Beer, 106-99, to force a do-or-die game in their PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals matchup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday night (27 June 2015).

Jared Dillinger and Kelly Nabong played big off the bench, proving to be major factors as the Bolts foiled the Beermen’s first of two cracks at the best-of-five semifinals.

Dillinger sizzled with 21 points highlighted by 4-of-4 from three-point range while Nabong came through with his finest PBA performance, logging 15 points and 12 rebounds on top of his defensive effort on SMB behemoth June Mar Fajardo.

Andre Emmett also produced double-double numbers with 28 markers and 10 boards and the rest of the Bolts had their contributions as they stayed in the hunt for back-to-back Final Four stints.

"What we got from the team is exactly what we needed – big performances from a lot of players," said Meralco coach Norman Black.

"We’d been looking for consistency on offense throughout the tourney. We had a good ball movement and really played well in the first half and in the second half in this game,"106, Beermen 99 Black also said.

A one-time grand slam champion coach, Black lauded in particular Emmett, Dillinger, Nabong, Mike Cortez and Reynel Hugnatan for the tremendous lift they provided in the game.

Emmett was again a steady force, Dillinger and Nabong stepped up in relief efforts, Hugnatan gutted it out on his turn to guard Fajardo while Cortez did well in quarterbacking for the team.

Cortez issued nine assists, scored four points, took two steals and snared one rebound in 31 minutes of action.

Along the way, the former La Salle standout notched a new career milestone, hitting the 500-steal mark. A little earlier this season, he made it to the 5,000-point plateau and the 2,000-assist mark.

Gary David, Cliff Hodge, Sean Anthony and Japanese recruit Seiya Ando also made their presence felt as the Bolts overcame San Miguel’s strong start and Fajardo’s 30-point and nine-rebound job.

Meralco made a 22-point turnaround, erasing an early 13-point deficit and enjoying a nine-point lead once at the outset of the fourth quarter.

Ronald Tubid fuelled a San Miguel’s fightback from 90-99 down but the Bolts put on the clamps on the Beermen just when they pulled even at 99 with 3:10 left to play.

Hugnatan fired a trey to break the 99-all deadlock and the Bolts roared all the way to take the game that they couldn’t afford to lose.

"We wanna come out and play as a team. A lot of credit goes out to the players for comin’ out with a great effort," said Black.

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