Petron arrests 2-game slide, nips GinebraBy Musong R. Castillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Petron Blaze survived another fourth-quarter meltdown this time to nip sister squad Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 98-95, last night and snap out of its PBA Philippine Cup rut before a huge Mall of Asia crowd.
Alex Cabagnot tossed in 25 points and Arwind Santos had 22 that went with 17 boards as the Boosters put a halt to a two-game losing spell to rise to 2-3.
The loss was the third after two straight victories for the Gin Kings, who trailed by 11 in the third period but managed to tie it at 95 before eventually falling into a tie with their conquerors.
Chris Lutz contributed 18 points and a lot of intensity to the Boosters, whose first win of the season came against Barako Bull.
“We really needed this win, especially after that loss to Alaska where we threw away a 14-point (fourth quarter) lead,” coach Olsen Racela said. “The other guys helping out was the key for us.”
Ginebra got 23 points from Mark Caguioa and 15 from LA Tenorio, who had a crucial endgame blunder when he threw a high pass to Willie Wilson in the Kings’ potential game-tying play with the Gin Kings down by just two.
And that led to a Tenorio duty foul on Cabagnot with 8.4 ticks left for a charity split before Caguioa muffed a game-tying triple try.
Earlier, Sol Mercado scored 24 points and Mac Cardona had 18 in leading Meralco to an 85-72 victory over Air21.
Mercado, who had a momentary lapse in judgment in the Bolts’ narrow loss last Wednesday, hit five of nine attempts from beyond the three-point line to spark the impressive victory, Meralco’s third in five games.
Later, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio took pot shots at MOA management.
“We defended well today—defended our things (in the locker room) as well—and held Air21 to insignificant numbers,” said Gregorio, who was hardest hit in the robbery that took place in their dugout last Wednesday.
Venue management, according to Gregorio, had promised to replace all lost items, though Meralco management made sure last night there wouldn’t be a repeat of the incident by bringing in its own security force for the team.
MERALCO 85—Mercado 24, Cardona 18, Buenafe 13, Hugnatan 10, Reyes 7, Nabong 6, Artadi 5, Salvacion 2, Hodge 0, Borboran 0.
AIR21 72—Wilson 16, Taha 9, Canaleta 9, Sena 8, Isip 8, Omolon 7, Reyes 4, Baclao 3, Atkins 2, Escobal 2, Ritualo 2, Arboleda 2.
Quarters: 18-14, 43-33, 63-56, 85-72
PETRON 98—Cabagnot 25, Santos 22, Lutz 18, Yeo 16, Pena 6, Washington 4, Ildefonso 4, Lanete 2, Mallari 1, Sison 0, Miranda 0.
GINEBRA 95—Caguioa 23, Tenorio 15, Raymundo 14, Ellis 8, Wilson 8, Maierhofer 7, Mamaril 7, Helterbrand 7, Maliksi 5, Jensen 1, Hatfield 0.
Quarters: 20-25, 48-49, 74-68, 98-95