‘Spoiled Milk’-A A +A
Saturday, January 11, 2014
MANILA — Meralco got back at the Alaska Aces with a 74-65 win on Friday to strengthen its hope of making it to the quarterfinal round of the 39th PBA Philippine Cup elimination round at the Araneta Coliseum.
Gary David, Cliff Hodge and Jared Dillinger combined for 44 points as they led the Bolts to a 14-point lead going into the pivotal period to avenge their 91-82 setback in their first meeting last Dec. 18.
“I told them to be ready for war. It’s not going to be easy for Alaska, they’re fighting for life just like us. When you’re going to war and you’re bloodied, you just wipe it off. We kept our heads above water with this win. We liked this game the way we defended it. We limited them to only 65 points, that’s what you call tenacity on defense,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
David and Dillinger’s spirited game moved the Meralco Bolts to a tie with Barako Bull from fifth to sixth position with similar 5-7 win-loss slates. The Aces dropped to the ninth spot with a 4-8 card, just a win away from cellar dweller Air 21, which is toting a 3-9 record.
After falling behind 3-11 in the first five minutes of the game, the 6’1” David, a 10th overall pick by Coca-Cola in 2004, struck with back-to-back baskets capped by a triple on top of the key to gain the upperhand, 24-17, in the first period.
An 8-0 blast by Gabby Espinas, JV Casio, Sonny Thoss and Dondon Hontiveros nailed the only deadlock at 40-all, with still 9:12 remaining in the third period. But David came back and led a 14-2 rally to regain the lead for Meralco, 63-51.
David finished with 24 points, while Dillinger and Hodge settled for 10 apiece. JV Casio led Alaska with 15 points, Sonny Thoss added 14 and Gabby Espinas had 13.
Meanwhile, Rain or Shine seeks its ninth win when it faces defending champion Talk ‘N Text, while San Mig Coffee tries to turn back Air 21 Express when they collide today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Elasto Painters, carrying an 8-3 slate, are seeking vengeance over the Tropang Texters (7-4), who defeated them, 90-87, in their first meeting last Dec. 17. The Coffee Mixers, on the other hand, want revenge over their 83-92 double overtime setback to the Express in their first encounter on Dec. 1.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2014.