Finally returning to form after three uncharacteristically low-scoring outings, ‘El Granada’ Gary David exploded for 23 points, leading the Meralco Bolts to a 90-75 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors, Wednesday night at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts led by as many as thirty points in the third quarter, but a fourth quarter surge from the struggling but feisty Road Warriors saw the lead reduced to ten points late in the final period.
Meralco opened the game with an early 14-2 lead and never looked back, capitalizing on a misfiring NLEX squad to take the 25-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bolts opened the second period with a 6-0 run to push the lead to twenty, 31-11, in only the first two minutes of the quarter. Following another forgettable quarter from the Road Warriors, the Bolts entered halftime with a commanding 52-29 lead.
The first minutes of the second half once again saw the Bolts pace the game, building a thirty-point, 69-39 lead with three minutes left on the clock. But the Road Warriors finally showed some sign of life, responding with a 10-0 rally, eight points coming from rookie Juneric Baloria. At the end of the third, the Bolts still lead by twenty, 71-51.
But momentum with stay with NLEX in the fourth quarter, and after finally finding their touch with the outside shot, the Road Warriors managed to reduce the deficit to a mere ten points, 75-85, with little more than two minutes left in the quarter. A sneaky fast break lay-in by Anjo Caram after receiving the outlet pass from Reynel Hugnatan mere seconds later however put a serious dent in the Road Warriors’ comeback bid. The Bolts managed to deny the Road Warriors a single basket in final two minutes, holding on for three more points and the win.
Gary David, who had averaged single digits prior to this assignment, had 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals to go with his 23 points. Jared Dillinger chipped in 17 points for Meralco. Veteran bigman Asi Taulava had 24 points and 12 rebounds for NLEX. Meralco rise to 3-1, while NLEX fall to 2-2 in the standings.