Powerade, Talk N’ Text share lead at 2-0
MANILA, Philippines—Not even the specter of losing a key player could crush the resolve of the title-hungry Powerade Tigers.
Coming off a nine-day rest, the Tigers kept pace with the Meralco Bolts for three quarters before finishing with a flourish to secure a 94-82 win Sunday night and grab the lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
Gary David had 29 points built around five three-pointers and nine of 22 field-goal shooting, rookie Marcio Lassiter, the center of trade talks which his coach frowns upon, added 19 points, while Dwayne Jones compiled 15 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks as the Tigers picked up a second straight victory.
Talk ‘N Text drew double figures from five local players to topple Alaska, 110-98, in the second game and duplicate Powerade’s 2-0 start.
Omar Samhan was saddled with fouls and played for only 16 minutes after hurting his knee early in the fourth but the Tropang Texters, the Philippine Cup champions, knocked down six of their last eight attempts, including three three-pointers, to stop the rampaging Aces.
Ahead by just five, successive threes by Ranidel De Ocampo, Jason Castro and
Larry Fonacier sealed Alaska’s second defeat in four games.
“We’re here to win the championship and I don’t think any tinkering of the team (lineup) will help achieve that,” said Powerade coach Bo Perasol, referring to management’s plan to trade Lassiter to Petron which was initially rejected by league commissioner Chito Salud.
Powerade acting governor Ronald Asuncion had declared during a recent PBA Board of Governors meeting that he is aiming for nothing less than the crown this conference amid speculations that the franchise is up for sale.
The Tigers reached the All-Filipino finals in the last conference against TNT and
then raised a lot of eyebrows with their decision to ship Lassiter to Petron for Rabeh Al-Hussaini and Rey Guevarra.
Trailing by seven halfway into the third, the Tigers chipped away at the lead and caught the Bolts on a knifing drive by Lassiter.
Jones then added a jaw-dropping dunk off a steal, a slashing layup and a free throw to cap Powerade’s 13-0 run for a 68-62 lead.
Throwing bricks for almost four minutes, the Bolts regained composure through consecutive three-pointers by Sol Mercado and Mark Macapagal that forced the last deadlock at 68.
But neither seven-footer Earl Barron nor Solomon Mercado, who missed Meralco’s first three games, could prevent the Bolts from plummeting to their third defeat in four outings.
The Bolts dropped into the cellar with Rain or Shine and Barako Bull. Another loss could mean an early exit from the playoffs for the three.
POWERADE 94—David 29, Lassiter 19, Jones 15, Casio 14, Anthony 9, Kramer 8, Martinez 0, Vanlandingham 0, Allera 0, Cruz 0, Adducul 0, Crisano 0.
MERALCO 82—Barron 22, Espinas 19, Cardona 13, Borboran 9, Macapagal 6, Artadi 6, Mercado 3, Ross 2, Taulava 2, Hugnatan 0.
Quarters: 20-25, 42-47, 68-68, 94-82
TALK ‘N TEXT 110—Castro 20, Fonacier 20, De Ocampo 19, Dillinger 17, Williams 13, Samhan 6, Carey 5, Peek 4, Gamalinda 2, Aguilar 2, Alapag 2.
ALASKA 98—Thoss 22, Parada 18, Tenorio 18, Baguio 18, Eman 10, Baracael 8, Custodio 4, Salamat 0, Reyes 0, Gonzales 0.
Quarters: 27-25, 62-48, 83-78, 110-98
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