The Barako Bull Energy, after being down 12-31 in the early goings of the game, rallied behind their bench in outscoring the Meralco Bolts the rest of the way to a 105-99 victory and stay unbeaten in the 2015 PBA Governor’s Cup Sunday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Barako Bull Energy started the game with a quick 6-2 start with Chico Lanete and Liam McMorrow powering the squad to open the game. Cliff Hodge’s energy on defense powered the Bolts to a huge 11-0 rally. In addition, Japanese import Seiyo Ando pressured the point guards into turnovers and converting them with layups on the other end. The Bolts lead grew to as high as 31-12 with Barako Bull not finding their offense. The Energy shot a poor 31.6% from the field in the quarter while the Bolts shot an outstanding 61.9%. Moreover, Andre Emmett made his presence known in scoring 12 points in the opening stanza of the game.
Super sixth man joseph Yeo entered the game in the second quarter. He then led a Barako Bull push with back-to-back three pointers. However, just when the Ninja was heating up, Yeo was accidentally swiped by Cliff Hodge that caused a cut on his left cheek, momentarily subbing him out of the game.
McMorrow and Chua helped their team in cutting down the lead in the quarter with offensive rebounds and putbacks against a smaller Bolts squad. In the half, the Energy were able to collect 17 second chance points. However, Meralco still maintained a 52-41 lead to enter halftime.
A furious 14-4 rally, with just five minutes in the third canto, was unleashed by the Barako Bull Energy. The quintet of McMorrow, Jake Pascual, Yeo, Chico Lanete, and RR Garcia flawlessly moved the ball and locked in on defense to cut the Bolts lead to just a solitary point 56-55. Free throws by Justin Chua tied the game at 58-all with 5:52 remaining. A flabbergasted coach Norman Black called a timeout afterwards to try to quell the Energy rally. Free throws by Emmett and a three-point shot by Mike Cortez gave the Bolts a 63-60 lead, but the lead was taken over by Barako Bull behind the hot hands of Yeo and RR Garcia. National team player Gary David then gave the suddenly stagnant Bolts-offense a boost to keep the game close, but a layup by Justin Chua, gave Barako a 75-73 lead before entering the final frame of the game. The Energy outscored the Bolts 34-21 in the quarter.
Yeo and Intal extended the lead for the Barako Bull Energy with three pointers to give their team an 81-75 lead. However, free throws by Rey Guevarra and jump shots by Emmett and Sando tied the game at 81-all. The two teams then exchanged shots and leads with big shots coming from Emmett and Yeo. Former San Beda big man Jake Pascual then joined in the fray with excellent rebounds and inside shots to help keep Barako afloat. In addition, former UAAP MVP Garcia stayed hot as he connected with a three point shot that gave Barako a 97-91 lead with 3:45 remaining. McMorrow and Pascual then scored on back-to-back baskets to give Barako a 101-96 lead with 1:27 remaining but was quickly answered by a three pointer by Cliff Hodge. 101-99 was the closest the Bolts could get. Free throws by Joseph Yeo sealed the game for the still-perfect Barako Bulls, 105-99.
Coach Koy Banal in the postgame press conference, told the members of the media that this is an exciting time for the franchise. “We got a lot of good players from the trades we made. And a lot of guys stepped up, this time it was Justin [Chua] and RR [Garcia]. Joseph also played huge with 28 points,” Banal said. Moreover, with McMorrow facing foul trouble almost the entire game, Banal commended the performance of his locals, especially Pascual, Willie Wilson and Chua.
Joseph Yeo led Barako Bull with 28 big points, with six assists and five three pointers. Liam McMorrow also had another monster outing with 19 points and 23 rebounds. For the other side, only two players scored in double digits with Andre Emmett scoring 32 points and Cliff Hodge having 17. Sean Anthony also grabbed 12 rebounds in the losing effort.
As a team, Meralco had a better outing from the field shooting at 48% compared to just the 41.5% of Barako Bull. However, the frontline of the Energy led by McMorrow, Chua and Pascual outrebounded the Bolts 55-41 which turned the tides of the game. In addition, Barako Bull scored 28 second chance points and 25 points off of turnovers.
The Meralco Bolts will next face the Blackwater Elite on Friday, May 29 at 4:15pm, while the Barako Bull Energy will play again on Wednesday, May 27 at 4:15pm against the San Miguel Beermen. Both games will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Barako Bull 105 – Yeo 28, McMorrow 19, Garcia 14, Pascual 12, Chua 12, Lanete 8, Intal 5, Wilson 3, Lastimosa 2, Ababou 2, Hubalde 0, Maierhoffer 0
Meralco 99 – Emmett 32, Hodge 17, Cortez 9, David 9, Ando 8, Anthony 7, Guevarra 7, Ferriols 4, Ildefonso 2, Dillinger 2, Nabong 2, Sena 0
Quarterscores: 18-33, 41-52, 75-73, 105-99
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