Bolts trim Llamados; TNT aliveBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Chriss Ross fired up the Meralco offense in the first period and then flattened B-Meg in the dying seconds as the Bolts hung on to post a 104-101 upset of the Llamados Friday night in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ross scored 13 first quarter points when the Bolts took control and then had a key three-point play and the steal that sealed their first win in the round as Meralco denied the Llamados the chance to earn at least a playoff for the second championship berth.
Talk ‘N Text stayed in the running for the semifinal incentive after holding off deposed champion Petron Blaze, 103-94, in the second game.
The Tropang Texters, at 7-5, won a second straight game in the semis and are now halfway through availing themselves of the 4-of-5 incentive.
Meralco came into the game with nothing more to lose, and unlike two nights ago when it was listless against sister team Talk ‘N Text, the Bolts were all business as they took leads of as many as 19 points in the third period before holding off the Llamados in the stretch.
The Bolts’ fifth win in 13 matches prevented the Llamados from gaining a first place tie with idle Rain or Shine with B-Meg losing for the first time in the semifinals to drop to 8-4, now tied with idle Barangay Ginebra.
The Llamados and the Gin Kings part ways tomorrow in the main game as the semifinals hits its homestretch.
Meralco closes out its season against dethroned champion Petron Blaze also tomorrow even as the Elasto Painters get their last two chances to seal a first-ever title series stint on Monday against Talk ‘N Text and B-Meg on Wednesday.
“Character is tested when nothing is on the line,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, who dedicated the win to team owner Manny V. Pangilinan who celebrates his birthday today.
Sol Mercado finished with 30 points, while Ross had 18, with his final three points in the last 6.7 seconds giving the Bolts a 102-98 lead.
James Yap hit a triple off the glass less than three seconds later to give the Llamados one more chance to forge overtime, but Ross broke up the potential game-tying play when he picked a weak inbound by Yancy de Ocampo to Josh Urbiztondo as time expired.
MERALCO 104—Mercado 30, West 29, Ross 18, Cardona 11, Taulava 9, Macapagal 3, Timberlake 2, Reyes 2.
B-MEG 101—Blakely 30, Yap 22, Simon 13, Barroca 11, De Ocampo 11, Urbiztondo 6, Pingris 5, Villanueva 3, Reavis 0.
Quarters: 31-17, 54-43, 77-63, 104-101
TALK ’N TEXT 103—Harris 31, Alapag 21, De Ocampo 19, Castro 10, Fonacier 8, Williams 7, Aguilar 4, Peek 3, Reyes 0, Aban 0, Alvarez 0.
PETRON 94—Lutz 23, Ildefonso 17, Faison 10, Santos 10, Washington 10, Cabagnot 9, Yeo 7, Lanete 4, Peña 4, Hontiveros 0.
Quarters: 28-19, 49-38, 70-72, 103-94