MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts shackled the Barako Bull Energy Cola in a trouble-free 99-86 win at the main game of the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday.
The defense-oriented Bolts were able to register their 4th win in 6 starts by limiting the Energy Cola to 20 points or less in each quarter, according to PBA.ph.
While the rest of the Meralco squad held down Barako Bull, Bolts Solomon Mercado and Ronjay Buenafe led the offensive end with 22 and 16 points, respectively.
“Sol and Ronjay did a good job helping us get a big lead and later manage the lead. Overall, it’s a great effort enabling us to be at 4-2 – a good way to start the season,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
Mark Cardona and Reynel Hugnatan also registered double-digits for the Bolts, who led by as much as 24 points.
Meralco seized control of the game shortly before the halftime break when Mercado exploded with 16 points in the 2nd quarter.
On the defensive end, the Bolts stonewalled Ronald Tubid, keeping the 6’1” swingman scoreless in the first 24 minutes.
Making matters worse for the Energy Cola was Mick Pennisi ejection following a flagrant foul in the third period.
Meralco 99 - Mercado 22, Buenafe 16, Cardona 16, Hugnatan 12, Hodge 8, Salvacion 8, Borboran 6, Reyes 5, Artadi 4, Sharma 2, Bulawan 0.
Barako 86 - Urbiztondo 14, Kramer 14, Najorda 13, Villanueva 13, Yap 9, Tubid 7, Pennisi 7, Marcelo 3, Co 2, Alvarez 2, Anthony 2, Ballesteros 0.
Quarters: 19-21, 53-40, 78-59, 99-86