PBA: Bong Quinto steps up for Meralco Bolts after Cliff Hodge exit

PBA: Bong Quinto steps up for Meralco Bolts after Cliff Hodge exit

/ 09:55 PM January 17, 2024

Meralco Bolts' Bong Quinto PBA playoffs quarterfinals

Meralco Bolts’ Bong Quinto in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIREr.net

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco’s Bong Quinto had to dig deep to help the Bolts to force a do-or-die game against Phoenix in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals.

Playing for 44 minutes, Quinto tallied 19 points, four assists and two rebounds to help Meralco emerge victorious over the Fuel Masters in triple overtime, 116-107, at Philsports Arena on Wednesday.

What made the forward’s heroics even more gargantuan was the fact that he had to take on the spot of bruiser Cliff Hodge for two more extra periods.

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“Sometimes, you have to find ways. Cliff got injured. Bong is used to playing the three but he needed to play the four and we played too small but he’s used to playing that. Back in his Letran days, he played the one, two or even three,” said coach Luigi Trillo.

Meralco Bolts' Bong Quinto PBA playoffs quarterfinals

Meralco Bolts’ Bong Quinto in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIREr.net

Hodge caught himself in a bad landing in the overtime period and he had to be helped by his fellow Bolts on the way back to the bench.

“It’s just incidental or accidental. He jumped up and fell, stepping on someone’s foot but it’s part of the game. With or without Cliff, it was going to be a hard game,” said Trillo.

Quinto said he had no problems taking on the challenge to step into a bigger role than he’s used to.

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And playing the four position in those two extra periods forced him to match up with Phoenix’s Javee Mocon–someone whom he’s very familiar with since the NCAA–anew.

“Back in college, I already played the four. At the same time, Mocon was there playing the same position for Phoenix. I even told him earlier, ‘oh, we’re matching up again.’ Maybe I was already ready even in practice. You have to think that these situations can always happen,” explained the Letran product.

“As coach Luigi has been saying, he gave me an opportunity. We have other bigs that could play [that position] but he chose me and I just wanted to show that this team could still win.”

The Bolts and the Fuel Masters go at it again on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena to determine which team will reach the conference semifinal against either Magnolia or TNT.

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TAGS: Bong Quinto, Meralco Bolts, PBA Commissioner's Cup, Phoenix Fuel Masters

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