Defense helps SMC turn back Meralco

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SAN Mig Coffee gunner James Yap (right) beats Meralco’s Paul Artadi to the rebound in last night’s game in Antipolo. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

ANTIPOLO—San Mig Coffee held Meralco scoreless in the final 3:37 last night and completed a come-from-behind 76-71 victory that snapped the Bolts’ three-game winning streak in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Ynares Center here.

James Yap knocked in the go-ahead free throws that broke a 71-all tie and Denzel Bowles had a bucket after that as the defending champion Mixers got back to .500, tying their victims at 4-4.

“There are many things that didn’t go our way in this game but we kept battling and battling,” San Mig coach Tim Cone said. “The thing I like about our team is that even though we struggle, we do a good job on defense.”

Meralco threw up bricks after import Eric Dawson had tied the game at 71.

Bowles posted 23 points and 16 rebounds and Yap wound up with 19 on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, but the Mixers lost Joe Devance and point guard Alex Mallari to injuries.

Devance went down with a suspected ligament tear on his left knee, while Mallari suffered a right ankle sprain.

Dawson paced the Bolts with 20 points and 13 boards and Chris Ross, who fell two rebounds short of a triple-double Wednesday, finally accomplished the feat—his first—with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

Meanwhile, Petron Blaze battles Rain or Shine for solo second place today in a Phoenix Fuel-presented road game in Panabo City.

After losing import Renaldo Balkman to a ban from the Commissioner’s Office last Monday, the Boosters will play all-Filipino against the Elasto Painters in the 6:30 p.m. game.

The scores:

SAN MIG COFFEE 76—Bowles 23, Yap 19, Simon 9, Pingris 7, Mallari 6, Devance 6, Barroca 2, Najorda 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 0.

MERALCO 71—Dawson 20, Hodge 14, Ross 10, Hugnatan 8, Artadi 6, Salvacion 6, Reyes 5, Buenafe 2, Manuel 0, Guevarra 0, Cardona 0, Sharma 0.

Quarters: 15-25, 34-38, 56-58, 76-71

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