Meralco bounces back, routs Petron Blaze

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Macmac Cardona vs Bryan Faundo and Jojo Duncil. PBA IMAGE by Nuki Sabio

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco bounced back to rout Petron Blaze, 95-81, Sunday in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Mark Cardona came just a rebound shy of a triple-double with 16 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

“After a deflating defeat against Rain or Shine, we really wanted to test our bounce-back genes by playing hard and strong on both ends of the floor against Petron,” said Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio, whose team got a 106-81 whipping from Rain or Shine last Sunday. “I think against Rain or Shine, complacency was the enemy.”

At one point, it looked like the Bolts, who led by as much as 19, never learned after the Boosters pulled to within 10, 70-80, with still 4:39 left on a basket by Dennis Miranda.

Fortunately for Meralco, Cardona answered back with five unanswered points and rookie Cliff Hodge adding the exclamation point on a block that led to an emphatic two-handed dunk that stopped Petron’s run, 87-70, with 3:36 remaining.

Cardona had 10 points alone in the final period while Hodge finished with 15 points and four rebounds.

Reynel Hugnatan and Sol Mercado also gave the Bolts a lift with 22 points apiece.

Meralco improved to 5-3 while Petron Blaze dropped to 3-6.

Alex Cabagnot paced the Boosters with 19 points on top of four rebounds and four assists.

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