MANILA, Philippines — Meralco outhustled Talk N’ Text in the fourth quarter and seized a 92-86 victory despite the return of the national team stars Friday in the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mario West exploded with a PBA career-best 47 points and unleashed all but two points in a 14-5 stretch midway in the payoff period which put the Bolts ahead, albeit slim, for good.
“West was there to lift our spirits up offensively,” said head coach Ryan Gregorio.
Cliff Hodge, whose presence also gave Meralco a good boost, added 18 points and 15 boards.
When the Texters pulled within one, 86-87, on freethrows by Jayson Castro with two minutes to play, West scored off a layup from a nifty spin against Ryan Reyes.
And the Bolts just held on to the lead from there, with Hodge plucking the needed boards for Meralco.
“The best way to compete against this star studded team was to focus on defense, thank God our defense bailed us out today,” he also said.
Castro, returning after a brief rest post-Fiba Asia championships, had 18 points for Talk ‘N Text along with five rebounds and seven assists but missed 11 shots. Larry Fonacier added 11 markers and Ranidel De Ocampo just two.
Meralco 92 – West 47, Hodge 18, Guevarra 12, Hugnatan 6, Vanlandingham 3, Wilson 2, Timberlake 2, Allado 2, Ross 0, Reyes 0, Salvacion 0.
Talk N’ Text 86 – Mitchell 32, Castro 18, Al-Hussaini 11, Fonacier 11, Anthony 6, Reyes R. 4, De Ocampo 2, Reyes J. 0, Aban 0, Carey 0.
Quarters: 26-16, 37-47, 62-67, 92-86