Meralco's Danny Ildefonso tests Air21's defense. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – Two-time Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso showed flashes of his old self while teaming up with Gary David to help Meralco get past Air21 via overtime, 92-88, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday.
The 37-year-old Ildefonso showed he still has the goods by churning out 14 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
Meralco tapped his services after Petron Blaze left him unsigned following the conclusion of the 2012-2013 season.
David, for his part, topscored with 34 points, beating Nino Canaleta in the battle of the scorers.
The Express threatened to take the game, when Canaleta connected three successive triples that sent the match into overtime.
Determined not to repeat their painful 83-82 loss to Barangay Ginebra, the Bolts put their act together and closed out the stubborn Express.
David keyed the Bolts’ final rally by scoring Meralco’s 7 points during the extension.
“What an incredible test again. But this time we made sure we’ll come out on top,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio in the PBA website.
“It was a scary game. Images of the Ginebra game were vivid in our mind. I just told players to come out fighting and make right decision in the end,” he added.
Against Ginebra, Meralco squandered a 5-point lead in the last 25 seconds.
Canaleta ended up with 32 points, while Asi Taulava had a solid effort of 15 points and 25 rebounds for the Express.
These numbers, however, weren’t enough to save Air 21 from incurring its 9th defeat in 11 starts.
Meralco 98 – David 34, Ildefonso 14, Wilson 13, Hugnatan 9, Dillinger 8, Salvacion 5, Guevarra 5, Hodge 4, Timberlake 0, Al-Hussaini 0, Artadi 0.
Air 21 88 – Canaleta 32, Taulava 15, Yeo 10, Manuel 8, Vardona 7, Sharma 6, Camson 4, Matias 2, Arboleda 2, Ritualo 2, Jaime 0, Menor 0, Custodio 0.
Quarters scores: 21-15; 38-31; 56-56; 79-79; 92-88