The Meralco Bolts notched their sixth win in eight games after their triumph over the Barako Bull Energy Cola, 98-85 held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday afternoon.
JC Intal and Dave Marcelo had relatively easy baskets to start things off, giving the Energy Cola a 6-2 lead. However, the Bolts responded on the defensive end led by their reinforcement Josh Davis, as they quickly rallied to an 11-0 spurt and gave them the lead. From that point on, Barako Bull went wire-to-wire until the final buzzer.
Reynel Hugnatan and Josh Davis scored on putbacks, and did their share on the glass, which kept Barako from clawing back. The Bolts also focused on Barako’s import, Sol Alabi, who struggled mightily during the game’s first 24 minutes of action.
As the subs fielded the floor in the second period, Gary David led the offense for the Bolts to continue their hold of the upper hand. David’s pull-up jumper capped an 10-4 fast burst in the second period as Meralco maintained their lead. With the reinsertion of Davis, the import once again dominated against Alabi as he scored a bucket to extend the gap to double digits.
Alabi was scoreless in the first half, while the Bolts took full advantage offensively and dictated the tempo for the entire match. Intal made back-to-back baskets to slice the deficit down to single digits, but the struggle to break into the nine point barrier became a daunting task for Barako in the second half.
The exchange of baskets continued, and Alabi started to barge into the scoring column in the third quarter. Carlo Lastimosa drained in a triple to make it a six point game, and give the Energy Cola a shot for a comeback. Unfortunately, the baskets and perimeter jumpers were also dropping for the Bolts.
The Meralco Bolts lead continued in the final period, but Alabi had one last run for Barako. The Energy Cola unleashed a 9-2 scoring run late to make it a five point lead. In the next play, Gary David drove to the baseline, drawing two people on him as he dished out an assist at the right moment. Reynel Hugnatan drained in the triple to stop Barako’s run, while David added another trey on the successive possession to put the finishing touches, which then sealed the match.
Both teams struggled from downtown as the Bolts fired on only 3/13 at 23%, while Barako stumbled further with only one out of 11 attempts. The Bolts outrebounded their counterparts, 45-39 and also had more steals, 7-4
Davis broke his slump after his injury back in their San Miguel game as he tallied 32 points, grabbed 19 boards, while also rejecting two shots. Hugnatan played stellar with his 21-point afternoon together with six rebounds.
Meralco (98)- Davis 32, Hugnatan 21, David 14, Hodge 8, Wilson 7, Dillinger 4, Ferriols 4, Cortez 4, Ildefonso 2, Caram 2, Anthony 0, Buenafe 0, Macapagal 0.
Barako Bull (85)-Alabi 14, Hubalde 13, Lanete 13, Intal 10, Salva 10, Lastimosa 7, Garcia 6, Pascual 6, Marcelo 4, Matias 2, Salvador 0.
Quarters: 24-20, 49-38; 70-61; 98-85.