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Kia stays alive in gutsy win over Meralco



As of presstime, the eighth spot in the standings is still up for grabs.

With several scenarios boiling down on the last game day of eliminations, the final seedings of the Governor’s Cup relied on the last two games. A Kia win was split into two more scenarios: due to the quotient system, if they win by 17, they advance automatically but if they win with less than said number, they’ll advance if Ginebra loses the next game. After their match, one foot was in for Carnival.

In the presence of the People’s champ Manny Pacquiao, the Kia Carnival went all out in the dying minutes to save their tournament as they escape with a 88-85 win over the Meralco Bolts held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday Afternoon.

Down by three after the first half, Meralco quickly tied the match at 44 in the first minute of the second half but was countered by six points by the score-hungry Carnival team including three succeeding layups. Kia settled for a man-to-man defense, but Emmett was still unstoppable underneath. The score became close in the next minutes as Kia missed several attempts from three-point territory. By the five-minute mark of the third quarter, the score was deadlocked at 50 as the match slowed down due to fouls.

There were six more lead changes before the quarter ended as the exchanges continued, but not in the favor of the Carnival. The stretch ended with Simon Atkins draining a wide-open corner three and a stop on the other end to enter the fourth up by two. The Bolts scored four points to open up the fourth and extend their lead to eight. However, playing with a sense of urgency, Kia responded with a 9-0 run capped by a Dehasa trey to take the lead for a brief moment.

Meralco called for a timeout and despite Kia playing quicker to the ball, the Bolts were able to sustain the lead and remained poised to build a 74-70 lead with about six minutes to play. Minutes later, Karl Dehesa and LA Revilla knocked down consecutive jumpers to tie the game at 78. After crucial stops on the other end, Revilla once again scored on a floater to take the lead for a while but Emmett answered back.

After a timeout, the Lasallian connection of LA Revilla and Joshua Webb clicked as the guard found the open forward as he delivered the lead-giving trey with 1:14 to go in regulation. Afterwards, two more stops by Carnival led to a free throw by N’Diaye, extending the lead to two possessions. Seconds later, Reynel Hugnatan swished in a long two but Revilla made it another four-point game at 86-82 with charity shots with 18 ticks left. Five free throws were combined by David and Revilla in the next plays, but David missed the potential overtime-extending shot that led to Kia’s win.

N’Diaye tallied 24 markers, 19 rebounds and blocked six shots in nearly 46 minutes of action to spearhead the offense for the Carnival who salvaged their season. Three more from the team added with double figures in scoring, led by Revilla’s 16 points, which included eight perfect attempts from the free-throw area.

Emmett finished with 35 points for Meralco including 14 rebounds on 15-of-31 shooting from the field. David added 14 as the two were the only ones scoring double digits for the Bolts.

Ginebra and NLEX battles it out at the 7:15 pm game as a Kings win will give them the last spot, while a loss will help the Carnival to push through the quarters.

The Scores:

Kia(88) – N’Diaye 24, Revilla 16, Yee 13, Dehesa 10, Buensuceso 8, Avenido 6, Webb 5, Pascual 2, Bagatsing 2, Cawaling 2, Deutschman 0, Chang 0, Alvarez 0

Meralco(85) – Emmett 35, David 14, Hugnatan 9, Atkins 6, Hodge 5, Dillinger 4, Nabong 3, Guevarra 3, Anthony 2, Ildefonso 2, Cortez 2

Quarters: 22-19, 44-41, 61-63, 88-85