Meralco leans on ‘old reliable’ to trip Petron in PBA Governors’ CupBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Meralco fended off Petron’s fightback and nabbed an 89-83 win Friday night in the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Seasoned bigman Reynel Hugnatan pounded on rookie Junmar Fajardo in the fourth quarter as the Bolts kept the Boosters, who even led by 14 in the first half, no closer than five in the last five minutes.
The “old reliable” Hugnatan, as head coach Ryan Gregorio aptly described, had eight of 20 points in the payoff period to lead Meralco on top off 23 points from last-minute import Mario West.
“It’s a nice way to start the conference after all the apprehensions. Everything panned out the right way against the ‘mighty’ Petron,” said Gregorio.
The Bolts blizted to the lead, albeit slim, towards the end of the third quarter, 66-61, and never relinquished it.
“It’s a good thing our ‘old reliables’ led by Reynel Hugnatan and Sunday Salvacion, did a lot of damage offensively after there were scary moments in the third,” Gregorio also said.
The youthful coach also commended guard John Wilson, who suited up for 35 minutes and shadowed the Boosters’ import Elijah Millsap.
Milsap finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds for Petron, while Arwind Santos added 16 points and 11 boards.
Meralco 89 – West 23, Hugnatan 20, Ross 14, Salvacion 13, Wilson 9, Reyes 4, Mangahas 2, Hodge 2, Guevarra 2, Vanlandingham 0, Allado 0.
Petron 83 – MIllsap 24, Santos 16, Fajardo 12, Lassiter 8, Cabagnot 8, Tubid 7, Lutz 2, Lanete 2, Kramer 2, Miranda 2, Deutchman 0, Yeo 0, Ildefonso 0.
Quarters: 16-28, 39-41, 66-61, 89-83