Mac Cardona woke up from his slumber and Meralco took care of the ball a lot better last night in a 103-92 victory over Globalport at Smart Araneta Coliseum that practically assured the Bolts of a playoff slot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
After going a combined 2-of-15 attempts in the last two games of the Bolts, Cardona exploded for 30 points and led Meralco into snapping a two-game slide and rising to a 5-5 card.
The win tied the Bolts with Air21, Barangay Ginebra, San Mig Coffee and Talk ‘N Text for fourth to eighth spots and pushed the Batang Pier to within a loss of another early vacation.
Globalport has now lost its last eight games and is alone at the cellar with a 2-9 card, and the Batang Pier would have to sweep their remaining three games—against the formidable Aces and the Tropang Texters and Barako Bull—and hope that not all of those teams from Nos. 4 to 8 win more than five games.
Eric Dawson scattered 37 points and had 13 rebounds that went with five assists and two steals, and his night almost turned sour when he engaged in a verbal tussle with Globalport coach Junnel Baculi heading into the dugout.
“I just told him (Dawson) to cool down and not be a part of statistics of imports that are self-destructing,” Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio said, referring to incidents that involved Renaldo Balkman of Petron Blaze and, just yesterday morning, former Rain or Shine reinforcement Jamelle Cornley.
Cornley, the Best Import in last season’s Governors’ Cup won by the Elasto Painters of B-Meg, was detained at the Quezon City Station 10 for allegedly knocking a cop out cold in a motel room.
The incident came about after Cornley reportedly lost cash amounting to $1,400 to three prostitutes, and the police officer who got knocked out, PO2 Anselmo Lazatin, was one of the officers who responded to the call.
Cornley’s PBA career, which was supposed to resume when the Painters defend the season-ending crown in August, has practically ended.
“If the allegations and charges in this incident are proven to be true, I see Mr. Cornley as having zero chance of playing in the PBA again, at least not under my watch,” commissioner Chito Salud said in a statement.
MERALCO 103—Dawson 37, Cardona 30, Hodge 11, Timberlake 10, Salvacion 5, Reyes 4, Hugnatan 4, Vanlandingham 2, Ross 0, Buenafe 0.
GLOBALPORT 92—David 29, Morgan 22, Mercado 11, Yee 10, Miller 7, Aguilar 5, Mandani 4, Salvador 2, Antonio 2, Belencion 0, Aljamal 0.
Quarters: 21-19, 48-41, 71-65, 103-92