Meralco with a beatdown of Air21; West, Menor nearly tangleBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines—Meralco put on a clinic Wednesday night, clobbering a hapless Air21, 106-77, in the first game of the 2012 PBA Governor’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mario West was brilliant on both ends of the floor, scoring his conference-high 34 points, hauling down seven rebounds and notching five assists and seven steals.
A jumper by West extended the lead to the biggest of the night, 64-29, just before halftime.
The Bolts, now at 3-4, were quick to turn the game into a rout, turning a 4-all deadlock to a whopping 22-point lead after the first quarter.
The highlight of the game, though, came after the buzzer as West rushed to Air21′s dugout, presumably looking for Ogie Menor, who fouled him hard in the third quarter.
Menor hacked West, who was going for a lay-in, from behind and was ejected from the game with a flagrant foul penalty two.
West, though, didn’t find who he was looking for in the dugout and was pacified even before any melee broke out.
Zach Graham poured a game-high 36 points, but his efforts were not enough to power the Express to another victory as his squad succumbed to their fifth loss.
MERALCO 106 – West 34, Cardona 15, Taulava 11, Mercado 9, Macapagal 9, Bulawan 6, Reyes 6, Hugnatan 6, Ross 5, Yee 3, Aljamal 2, Ballesteros 0, Daa 0, Artadi 0.
AIR21 77 – Graham 36, Ritualo 12, Isip 10, Arboleda 6, Omolon 5, Sena 2, Espiritu 2, Menor 2, Faundo 2, Bagatsing 0, Salamat 0, Sison 0, Escobal 0, Hubalde 0.
Quarterscores: 34-12, 64-35, 82-62, 106-77