Ginebra, Meralco repulse foesBy Marc Anthony Reyes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MARK Caguioa came off the bench to deliver 12 of his 19 points in a crucial stretch as Ginebra turned back defending champion Petron Blaze, 83-80, last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Caguioa hit a turnaround jumper to spark a 13-point blitz with barely six minutes left and the Gin Kings held on to join idle Powerade for third place at 3-2.
“That guy is really a blessing to us, he’s a scoring machine,” said Ginebra coach Siot Tanquingcen. “I’m glad working with people like Mark.”
Earlier, former NBA player Mario West exploded for 33 points in three quarters while Asi Taulava scattered 23 as Meralco downed Alaska, 100-95, to remain in contention.
The Bolts improved to 2-3 while driving the Aces down in the cellar at 1-4.
Caguioa also added three rebounds and one assist for the Kings who dealt the Boosters’ their third loss in six games.
“We are starting to get the right mix and getting to the direction that we want,” added Tanquingcen.
Petron clustered six straight points to open a 71-62 lead in the last 8:27 when Caguioa returned to action and lifted the Kings to a 79-75 lead they never relinquished.
Alex Cabagnot hit a triple in the last 21.9 second to push Petron to within 80-82 but Kerby Raymundo hit a free throw for the final score.
Chris Lutz and import Edward Basden had 15 points apiece to lead the Boosters, who also got 13 points from Denok Miranda.
The 39-year-old Taulava, who grabbed 12 rebounds, delivered five points in the last quarter to lead the Meralco locals after Alaska’s interior defense finally silenced West.
“We addressed our problems, we changed our import,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. “In an import-laden conference like this it’s important that we have an import that can produce results from both ends of the floor.”
West, who replaced Champ Oguchi, finished with six rebounds, six assists, one steal and one block for the Bolts, who improved to 2-3. Also contributing for Meralco were Gilbert Bulawan and Mac Cardona with nine points each.
But it was Taulava who made the difference, barrelling through heavy traffic for hard-earned shots aside from making nine of his 13 free throws.
MERALCO 100—West 33, Taulava 23, Bulawan 9, Cardona 9, Hugnatan 8, Mercado 6, Ross 4, Reyes 4, Artadi 4.
ALASKA 95—Forte 24, Custodio 11, Tenorio 11, Jazul 10, Baguio 10, Thoss 9, Espinas 8, Eman 6, Dela Cruz 4, Baracael 2, Gonzales 0.
Quarters: 23-30, 55-50, 82-75, 100-95
GINEBRA 83—Caguioa 19, Bozeman 16, Raymundo 15, Ababou 6, Maierhofer 6, Hatfield 6, Maliksi 6, Villanueva 4, Canaleta 2, Cortez 2, Helterbrand 2.
PETRON 80—Basden 15, Lutz 15, Miranda 13, Ildefonso 11, Washington 10, Santos 9, Cabagnot 6, Yeo 1, Reyes 0, Pena 0.
Quarters: 19-21, 40-40, 58-65, 83-80