The Meralco Bolts get to keep their hot start in the Commissioner’s Cup going, pulling away from a Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters squad that came close to stealing the lead in the fourth quarter, and eventually walking away with the 91-83 victory Wednesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.
The first quarter opened to a veritable trade of baskets between the two squads, Meralco proving to be the quicker draw and taking the early lead. Up until the last three minutes of the period, the Tropang Texters were able to keep pace, closing in on the Bolts 17-19, but were promptly left in the dust when import Josh Davis and veteran sharpshooter Gary David collaborated to help Meralco pull away by as many as seven points. At the end of the first, the Bolts led 28-21.
A series of fruitful free throw charities by Jared Sullinger gave Meralco the ten-point lead two minutes into the second period, 31-21. Talk ‘N Text, who struggled from both the three-point line and the free throw line, found themselves unable to answer back to the Meralco salvo. Jayson Castro and Richard Howell’s combined 23 points proved insufficient, as at the end of the first half it was the Bolts who had the lead, 46-41.
The Tropang Texters entered the third period looking geared to finally come within striking distance, trimming the lead to three, 45-48, after a minute of play. A 7-2 flurry by the Bolts, however, extended the lead to as many as eight in the next few minutes, pulling away just as the Texters were looking to snatch the lead. With little more than four minutes left in the quarter, a bucket by Larry Fonacier off the lob pass put the Tropang Texters within striking distance, 58-60. But once again the Bolts pulled away just as the Texters closed in, extending the lead to seven in the last two minutes of the quarter to take a 72-65 lead to end the period.
Talk ‘N Text found the boost they needed in rookie Kevin Alas collaborating with import Howell to score six straight points and come within striking distance, 76-77, four minutes into the fourth. Meralco’s Willy Wilson, however, responded with a trey on the other end to make it 80-76. But with their outside touch back, the Texters were able to keep pace this time, biting at the lead and staying close enough to steal the lead for the next few minutes of play. But approaching the last two minutes, a big layup by Mike Cortez after slashing inside gave Meralco a crucial 87-81 lead that they held on to for around a minute of play. Two free throws at the 1:18 mark by Davis pushed the lead to 89-81, hammering down the nail in the coffin.
David led the Bolts with 17 points off the bench. Import Howell led Talk ‘N Text with 24 points and 9 rebounds. Meralco improves to 3-0, while Talk ‘N Text slides to 2-1 after the loss.
David- 17, Wilson-12, Hodge-11, Cortez-11, Davis-8, Hugnatan-8, Anthony-6, Ferriols-6, Reyes-5, Dillinger-5, Ildefonso-2
Talk ‘N Text- 83
Howell- 24, Castro- 18, R. de Ocampo- 11, Alas- 8, Miller- 7, Fonacier- 6, Washington- 3, Ganuelas-Rosser-3, Carey-3