Mark Cardona (R) steers Meralco past GlobalPort with a season-high 30 points. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
Aces stop Boosters, grab lead
MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) Macmac Cardona broke out of his personal slump, exploding for a season-high 30 points as Meralco repeated over Globalport, 103-92, to force a five-way tie at fourth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Wednesday night.
Struggling for a mere 2.5-point norm in their last two games, Cardona rediscovered his old touch, going 3-of-3 from beyond the arc, 7-of-11 from the two-point zone and 7-of-9 from the line to surpass his previous season-best of 26.
Eric Dawson played true to form while reserve guard Chris Timberlake stepped up for the injured Chris Ross as the Bolts pulled another one against the Batang Pier and gained a share of fourth spot with the Air21 Express, the Ginebra Kings, the San Mig Coffee Mixers and the Talk 'N Text Texters at 5-5.
The win thus kept the Bolts in the hunt for a Top Two finish while the Batang Pier found themselves in a tighter spot at 2-9, needing to sweep their last four games to salvage a playoff shot at the last quarterfinals berth.
“People were expecting Macmac (Cardona) would get a tongue-lashing, but I did the exact opposite. I told him to calm down, don’t do things outside of his comfort level, and play as you do in high school – just enjoy the game,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
“That’s what obvious in our team. Our import is really good but in spite of his talent, he can’t do it by lonesome. Macmac did a good job offensively and Timberlake, playing 36 minutes with Ross injured, did a good job in helping keep our offense going,” Gregorio added.
Dawson put in 37 big points but, at endgame, had a confrontation with Globalport coach Junel Baculi.
“There was a verbal tussle between coach Junel and Dawson. I have to calm down Dawson, telling him to be a good example not only to the players but to the viewing public. A lot of imports are self-destructing, don’t be a part of the statistics,” said Gregorio.
Tension also nearly erupted as Mark Yee gave a driving Cardona a hard foul, sending the Meralco gunner to the floor. JayR Reyes then nudged Yee.
Cardona’s slump stretched to the first quarter of the contest before the ex-La Salle Archer started to hit his strides, pouring in 15 points in the second period.
He added seven in the third then finished off with eight more, helping Meralco in a steady ride against the struggling Globalport team that suffered its eighth straight defeat.
Down by 14 at 69-83, the Batang Pier tried to mount a rally, coming to within six at 80-86 with four minutes left to play.
They had a chance to inch closer but Timberlake stole off Gary David. Then two free throws each by Timberlake and Dawson put Meralco back in full control at 90-80.
Timberlake wound up with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists and two assists.
Cliff Hodge was a fourth Meralco player who finished in double figures with 11. He also contributed eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks.
Alaska vs Petron
Robert Dozier put on a show with old Alaska import Adam Parada a curious spectator behind their bench, powering the Aces back to the top of the standings with a 92-84 win over the Petron Blaze Boosters later in the night.
Dozier piled up 32 points and 18 rebounds as the Aces bounced back from their sorry 83-84 loss to the San Mig Coffee Mixers Sunday, boosting their bid for a Top Two finish in the elims with an 8-3 card.
“We had nine import candidates, including Adam Parada, but he has a three-year contract in Mexico. He’s here for a vacation with his Filipina wife. Rob Dozier is here to stay. I told that even before our first game in the conference,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo.
Ralph Reyes, Cyrus Baguio and Dondon Hontiveros backed up Dozier with 11 points apiece as the Aces bucked the absence of Jayvee Casio and Sonny Thoss, handing the Boosters their fourth loss against six wins.
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.
Quarterscores: 21-19, 48-41, 71-65, 103-92
ALASKA 92 – Dozier 32, Reyes 11, Baguio 11, Hontiveros 11, Abueva 6, Dela Cruz 6, Jazul 5, Espinas 5, Belasco 5, Eman 0.
PETRON 84 – Petron 24, Washington 22, Cabagnot 11, Fajardo 10, Miranda 8, Santos 7, White 2, Lanete 0, Tubid 0, Peña 0.
Quarterscores: 19-23, 40-36, 71-65, 92-84