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Barako Bull wastes David’s 40, deals Meralco fourth straight loss

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Going down to the wire against the hot shooting of Gary David, the Barako Bull Energy Cola used a huge fourth quarter surge to escape the cellar-dwelling Meralco Bolts, 108-106, held at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig City Sunday afternoon.

Trailing by a small margin during the first half of the opening quarter, Barako turned it around late to build an 11-point cushion. Their defense held Meralco to only four points in the last three minutes of the first, and they built up a quick 32-23 lead in 12 minutes. Meralco then responded to go 29-24 in the second period, with 10 points coming from Gary David. The youngsters also played a huge role for the Bolts, while turnovers haunted Barako’s attempts to maintain their lead.

A closely-contested third frame featured strength in both offensive and defensive. Meralco’s fouls gave Barako free throws that kept the Bolts at bay. However, an 11-0 run with 54 seconds left in the third gave the Bolts the lead, cemented by a Jimmy Alapag triple. During the stretch, Barako had a tough time capitalizing on second chances and keeping up with Meralco’s running game.

But in less than five minutes, Barako outscored Meralco 15-2 in the final frame to suddenly jump to a 94-84 cushion. The run started with a Mick Pennisi triple, while Josh Urbiztondo hit 13 points in the quarter. Despite the lead, the gritty Meralco Bolts made their last hurrah after cutting down a nine-point lead with 1:45 left. They scored a 9-2 spurt late, all coming from Gary David, as they made it close, with Barako missing free throws. However, a huge defensive block by Willie Wilson stopped Reynel Hugnatan for a potential game-tying basket underneath.

Urbiztondo finished the match with 24 points, four baskets of which came from three-point territory. The off-the-bench, in-form player emphasized after the game how defense helped their team in this win. “Every game is a grind. Coaches continue to say that defense wins games, championships. Good thing we got this win out today,” “The Fireball” said. “Coach always talks about execution, we work on our offense, we executed and good thing my teammates found me”.

Despite being out-rebounded 47-35, Barako had only eight turnovers compared to Meralco’s 19. This led to more points from turnovers, 18-7, while they were also +six from points in transition, 19-13.

RR Garcia added 18, including 5-of-5 shooting from the free throw area. For the losing Bolts, David had his conference-high with 40 points including a whopping 7-of-9 shooting from downtown.

Barako Bull (2-2) will next face the Mahindra Enforcers (1-3) in Biñan, Laguna, 4:15pm on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Meralco continues to seek for its first win of the season against the Star Hotshots on Nov. 21, 5:15pm at the Cuneta Astrodome.

The Scores:
Barako Bull (108) – Urbiztondo 24, Garcia 18, Wilson 17, Monfort 12, Intal 9, Pennisi 6, Baracael 5, Lanete 3, Miranda 2, Sorongon 2, Caperal 2, Fortuna 0.
Meralco (106) – David 40, Newsome 12, Hugnatan 10, Amer 9, Alapag 7, Nabong 7, Caram 6, Dillinger 5, Al-Hussaini 4, Faundo 4, Hodge 0, Ferriols 0.
Quarterscores: 32-23, 56-52, 79-82, 108-106.

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