Meralco didn’t suffer a power outage this time as it pushed Globalport to the cliff’s edge.
Drawing superlative efforts from its superstars and a career game from rookie Kelly Nabong, the Bolts tripped the Batang Pier, 101-92, Friday night to stay in the upper half of the PBA Philippine Cup standings at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mac Cardona scattered 26 points, Sol Mercado had 11 of his 24 in the fourth, and Nabong tossed in a career-high 18 that went with 11 rebounds as Meralco rebounded from that humiliating loss to Rain or Shine last Wednesday to rise to 6-5.
“That was pretty much a lesson in humility,” coach Ryan Gregorio told reporters, referring to a 98-102 overtime loss to the Elasto Painters that saw them blow a 26-point third quarter lead. “We weren’t able to handle success in a positive way (in that game).”
Meralco regained solo fourth with the win, while also dealing the Batang Pier a seventh straight setback for a 1-10 card that all but put the lights out on Globalport’s first conference in the league.
Those seven straight defeats actually started after Globalport’s first and only win thus far, which came at the expense of Meralco, 105-104, behind Willie Miller’s 33 points.
Gary David, who wasn’t in the lineup when Globalport won that game, scored 25 points in the first half and Rey Guevarra had all but two of his 20 in the last two periods, enabling the Batang Pier to tug at the coattails of the Bolts.
But Meralco simply had more firepower, with Mercado being joined by Buenafe in a torrid finish.
“I think today we were not complacent,” Gregorio said in a not-so-subtle reply to a post-game statement made by Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao after that epic Wednesday win. Gregorio, though, quickly pointed out that he wouldn’t want to get into a word war with Guiao.
“I have so much respect for coach Yeng that I wouldn’t want to be dragged into a word war (with him),” Gregorio said. “It (Guiao’s statement) is part of the game, and I don’t want to be dragged into a word war I will never win. Might as well end it right now.”
Buenafe finished with 14 points and Reynel Hugnatan contributed 10.
Mercado also dished out nine assists.
Meanwhile, action goes to the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena City as Petron Blaze shoots for a third straight win when it battles Barako Bull in a road game presented by Phoenix Fuels.
Game time is 6:30 p.m. with the Boosters shooting to get back to .500.