MANILA, Philippines – There were anxious moments late in the game but Meralco didn’t need any buzzer beaters this time around.
Mac Cardona redeemed himself in emphatic fashion with a season-high 30 points to lead the Bolts to a 103-92 win over slumping GlobalPort Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cardona, who averaged just 2.5 points and shot just two-of-15 from the field in his last two games, only missed four of his 14 field goal attempts and grabbed four rebounds.
“We had a very frustrating last two games against San Mig Coffee and Ginebra but that did not derail us from our mission to get back to the winning track,” said Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio.
Import Eric Dawson topscored with 37 points on top of 13 rebounds and five assists for Meralco, which snapped a two-game slide to join four other teams in the middle of the pack with a 5-5 record.
The Batang Pier (2-9) on the other hand, sank deeper into the standings with an eighth straight setback and needed to sweep their remaining three games in the elimination round for a chance at the playoffs.
Gary David scored 20 of his team-high 29 points in the second half as he kept GlobalPort within striking distance. He went 14-of-15 at the line which included three free throws after drawing a bad foul from Cliff Hodge to cut Meralco’s advantage to just five, 89-94 with still 1:19 left.
The last time these two teams met, Sunday Salvacion buried an off the glass buzzer-beating triple as Meralco won, 90-89, last February 24.
Chris Timberlake excelled in place of starting point guard Chris Ross, who couldn’t shake off a sprained foot as he struggled in 12 minutes of play.
“He (Ross) was not really supposed to play. The doctors advised him to sit it out for the next two weeks but he’s a competitor he knows how important this game is,” said Gregorio.
Timberlake tied his career-high with 10 points and collected five rebounds, four assists and two steals with no turnovers in 36 minutes.