MANILA, Philippines – Meralco played their spoiler role to the hilt by pulling off a stunning victory over the favored B-Meg Derby Ace on Friday at the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals.
The Bolts, who were already out of the Governors’ Cup race, came out with a 104-101 victory, leaving the second-ranked Llamados stumped at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The win served as Meralco’s gift in advance to its team owner, business magnate Manny V. Pangilinan, who celebrates his birthday on Saturday.
“I asked them to win one for Chairman MVP who’s celebrating his birthday,” said Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio in PBA.ph. “And they did. Only problem is it’s not his birthday everyday.”
Sol Mercado scored 30 points, while import Mario West churned in 19 in their win which denied B-Meg the chance to tie league-leader Rain or Shine.
Meralco led by as much as 19 points in the second half, and weathered B-Meg’s fight back down the stretch.
Holding on to a 99-98 lead, Asi Taulava hurled a long pass to Chris Ross, who rolled out an easy lay-up and completed a 3-point play to make it 102-98 with 6.7 ticks remaining.
But B-Meg’s James Yap managed to connect a trey to bring the Llamados within 1 point with 3.9 seconds left.
After an ensuing play, Taulava split his free throws to put Meralco up, 103-101
Mark Cardona made it 104-101 via a technical free throw after B-Meg coach Tim Cone was called for an excessive timeout.
Meralco 104 – Mercado 30, West 29, Ross 18, Cardona 11, Taulava 9, Macapagal 3, Timberlake 2, Reyes 2.
B-MEG 101 – Blakely 30, Yap 22, Simon 13, Barroca 11, De Ocampo 11, Urbiztondo 6, Pingris 5, Villanueva 3, Reavis 0.
Quarterscores: 31-17, 54-43, 77-63, 104-101