Eric Wise of Barako Bull (dark) vs Gary David and Cliff Hodge of Meralco (light). PBA image by Nuki Sabio
MANILA – Import Eric Wise scored his team’s last three points as Barako Bull squeaked past Meralco, 95-94, to kick off the PBA Governors Cup Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Wise, who finished with 33 points and 16 rebounds, scored on a hook shot and a charity in the last 35 seconds of the game, as the Energy Cola rallied after being down 11 points, 75-86, in the fourth quarter.
“He’s not the most flashy, he does not have the best credentials but he does just fine with us,” Barako Bull head coach Siot Tanquingcen told the PBA website of Wise.
Wise’s father, Francois, played for five PBA teams from 1981 to 1987 and wound up sixth in scoring and seventh in rebounding among imports all-time, the website noted.
With the win, Tanquingcen also notched his first victory as Barako head coach after taking over from Bong Ramos.
Rookie Jeric Fortuna contributed 13 points to Barako, including a triple that tied the game at 92, while Carlo Lastimosa made six of his 10 points in the crucial fourth-quarter rally.
“It’s good we started with a win, pero malayo pa ito,” Tanquingcen said, noting that Energy blew an early 21-point lead.
Meralco rallied from an early 25-46 deficit and outscored Barako Bull, 31-16, in the third quarter to grab the lead 70-68, heading into the fourth period.
Jared Dillinger, Sunday Salvacion and import Terrence Williams further stretched the Bolts’ lead to 11, to 79-68, before Barako started to fight back.
“I just kept reminding the guys to challenge the shots, keep plugging along, don’t get frustrated,” Tanquingcen said.
It was a disappointing debut for Williams, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Williams had played for the New Jersey Nets, Houston Rockets, Sacramento Kings and Boston Celtics and was the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft.
Wise drew a foul off Williams in the last 1.3 seconds of the game that resulted in the final free throw that eventually won the game for Energy Cola.
BARAKO BULL 95 – Wise 33, Fortuna 13, Lastimosa 10, Wilson 10, Miranda 8, Jensen 7, Marcelo 6, Intal 3, Pennisi 3, Thiele 2, Deutchman 0.
MERALCO 94 – Hodge 20, Williams 19, David 19, Dillinger 8, Timberlake 6, Salvacion 6, Bringas 4, Hugnatan 4, Wilson 4, Ildefonso 2, Sena 2, Guevarra 0.
Quarterscores: 28-17, 52-39, 68-70, 95-94