Sunday gifts Meralco with miracle victory

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ERIC Dawson (right) of Meralco finds his slam dunk attempt rejected by Japeth Aguilar of Globalport. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

Everybody knows Sunday Salvacion has the skill to hit three-pointers from all angles. Last night, he proved it in a big way again.

Salvacion banked in a buzzer-beating three and Meralco repulsed Globalport, 90-89, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The high-arching shot that trickled in just as time expired completed the rise of the Bolts from 12 points down midway in the fourth and turned in handsome dividends for coach Ryan Gregorio, who fielded in Salvacion in the game for the first time in the conference.

“He has not seen the floor the past three games, I made a gamble and it paid off,” said Gregorio, after the Bolts bounced back from a Petron setback and pulled even with Globalport with two victories and three losses. “It was a fantastic shot by Sunday and that’s what veterans do.

“If there’s anyone doubting that there’s a God, that shot just proved there is,” added Gregorio.

Salvacion, however, did more than just pulling off that freakish game-winner.

The 6-foot-2 streak shooter drilled in six of seven three-pointers and had 20 points while putting the cuffs on Gary David in the closing minutes.

Sizzling hot from long range, David flubbed his last two shots with Salvacion in his face and finished with 27 points in Globalport’s third defeat in five games.

“Sunday made life miserable for Gary by contesting his shots,” said Gregorio. “He’s the type of  player not used to playing long minutes but determined to do something positive with his limited time on the floor.”

The Batang Pier opened an 80-68 lead after successive threes by David and Jaypee Belencion. Willie Miller also struck with another three after the Bolts came within eight halfway through the quarter and Globalport seemed headed for an easy win.

But the Bolts came charging back with Mac Cardona, Eric Dawson, Cliff Hodge and Salvacion doing the damage. Cardona sank his free throws on a foul by Sol Mercado, slicing down Globalport’s lead, 89-87, with 36.3 seconds left.

On the other end, Belencion muffed a open three and Hodge grabbed the rebound, allowing Gregorio to draw up one more play with 9.5 ticks remaining.

Chris Ross dribbled to the right flank and handed it off to Cardona, who found himself covered inside the paint and was forced to kick out to Salvacion for the buzzer-beater.

The scores:

First Game

MERALCO 90—Salvacion 20, Dawson 19, Hodge 16, Cardona 15, Hugnatan 7, Manuel 4, Buenafe 4, Guevarra 3, Ross 2, Reyes 0, Artadi 0.

GLOBALPORT 89—David 27, Miller 22, Belencion 15, Aguilar 12, Mercado 6, Williams 5, Mandani 2, Yee 0, Salvador 0, Crisano 0.

Quarters: 17-24, 43-48, 66-67, 90-89

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