PBA Roundup: December 2-4, 2011

Sol Mercado led the Bolts past the Tigers to strengthen
their drive for a quarterfinals slot.
*All images by Nuki Sabio/PBA.ph

Meralco is safely in the playoffs, so why risk injuries to players by playing hard, right? Wrong.

The Bolts came out with the same passion and intensity of a ballclub hanging on for its dear life, making the key defensive stops down the stretch in overcoming the Powerade Tigers last Friday night.

Sol Mercado scored 23 points and Gabby Espinas collected 14 points, 11 rebounds and two critical blocks in the fourth quarter as Meralco eclipsed the seven victories it posted in its maiden tournament – the Philippine Cup – last season. Mark Cardona added 17 points – 11 coming in the second half – and also had 5 assists while Asi Taulava pulled down 11 rebounds.

Gary David collected 16 first-half points but was held to only nine the rest of the way because of foul trouble, and Doug Kramer had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Powerade, which lost in its first chance to end a 7-conference playoff drought.

Meralco 100 - Mercado 23, Cardona 17, Espinas 14, Lanete 9, Macapagal 9, Hugnatan 6, Yee 5, Taulava 5, Borboran 4, Isip 4, Omolon 4, Timberlake 0.
Powerade 98 - David 25, Kramer 16, Anthony 14, Casio 13, Lassiter 9, Vanlandingham 7, Lingganay 6, Adducul 6, Cruz 2, Crisano 0, Antonio 0.
QS: 24-22, 49, 54, 76-76, 100-98.

Gabby Espinas and the Bolts blocked the
Tigers' rise in the standings.
Gary David's 25-point effort went down in smoke.

Mark Caguioa teamed up with Willy Wilson for the winning play in the closing seconds as Barangay Ginebra edged Petron Blaze to formalize its entry into the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs. A defensive breakdown by the Boosters left Wilson open to make the winning basket with 5.5 ticks left to play. Caguioa was supposed to take the shot but opted to dish as he spotted Wilson by his lonesome underneath the basket.

Caguioa and Ronald Tubid combined for 38 points coming off the bench as the Kings sustained their romp and caught up with the Barako Bull Energy at sixth place at 6-5, just half-game behind the fifth running Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (7-5). Ginebra stretched its streak to seven games while stopping Petron’s own hot surge at six. The Boosters, however, remained in strong contention for a twice-to-beat incentive with a 9-4 card.

Ginebra 91 - Caguioa 22, Tubid 16, Villanueva 14, Cortez 12, Intal 8, Wilson W. 6, Mamaril 6, Canaleta 5, Labagala 2, Wilson J. 0.
Petron 89 - Cabagnot 28, Santos 14, Miranda 14, Reyes 11, Ildefonso 8, Yeo 7, Tugade 7, Doruelo 0, Agustin 0, Baclao 0, Sharma 0.
QS: 20-16, 43-37, 71-65, 91-89

Willy Wilson's endgame heroics lifted the Kings
past the surging Boosters.
Niño Canaleta lost his battle with Arwind Santos,
but his team won the war.
Alex Cabagnot collars the rebound as Petron
lost a close one to their rivals.

The quarterfinals of the PBA Philippine Cup won’t start until Dec. 14, but already the B-Meg Llamados are playing like a playoff team. The Llamados dominated Barako Bull for most part of the game, but had to summon their championship experience and poise in the closing minutes to weather a fiery charge by the Energy and escape with a close shave.

Rookie Mark Baroca sealed B-Meg’s seventh consecutive win, driving past Barako Bull guard Wynne Arboleda then scoring the marginal basket off Mick Pennisi and fellow rookie Dylan Ababou with 4.9 seconds remaining.

James Yap scored  15 points, PJ Simon had 13 while Joe Devance and Kerby Raymundo added 12 apiece for B-Meg, which improved to 9-4 and remained in contention for one of the coveted twice-to-beat advantages in the quarterfinals.

Willie Miller led Barako Bull with 25 points. Danny Seigle, displaying the form that made him one of the league’s top gunner, collected 12 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, including eight straight that pulled Barako Bull within 86-87 with `1:33 left.

B-Meg 91 - Barroca 18, Yap J. 15, Simon 13, De Vance 12, Raymundo 12, Reavis 7, Urbiztondo 6, De Ocampo 6, Yap R. 2, Pingris 0.
Barako Bull 90 - Miller 25, Seigle 22, Pena 11, Ababou 10, Najorda 8, Pennisi 7, Gatumbato 3, Allado 2, Arboleda 2, Artadi 0, Salvacion 0.
QS: 18-18, 45-33, 72-59, 91-90

Josh Urbiztondo tries to round the formidable
figure of the Energy's Dorian Peña.
James Yap tests the defense of rookie Dylan Ababou.
Danny Seigle's big fourth quarter was not enough
to tow Barako Bull to a win.

Talk n Text gave Powerade a free ride into the quarterfinals as it dropped the ax on Alaska Milk last Saturday. The Tropang Texters pulled away in the third quarter, building a lead big enough to cushion the Aces’ fiery fourth-quarter chase.

The Aces didn’t survive the crippled Texters and eventually moved out of the race for the quarterfinals. They failed to make it past the elimination round for the first time since the 2009 Fiesta Conference and only the third time since 1999.

Jimmy Alapag, Kelly Williams and Harvey Carey put in huge numbers as the Texters delivered the knockout punch on the Aces. Alapag went 6-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 21 points that went with 8 assists, Williams chipped in 20 points while Carey contributed 18 points and 14 rebounds. Japeth Aguilar came through with a conference-high 7 blocks and added 10 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals.

Talk N Text 100 - Alapag 21, Williams 20, Carey 18, Fonacier 16, Aguilar 10, Gamalinda 7, Castro 7, Alvarez 1, Raymundo 0, Weinstein 0, Lao 0.
Alaska 97 - Tenorio 25, Baguio 22, Baracael 15, Reyes 12, Salamat 9, Thoss 8, Eman 4, Custodio 2, Bugia 0.
QS: 27-22, 49-42, 75-57, 100-97

LA Tenorio's Aces are out of the running for
a quarterfinals spot.

Kelly Williams and the Texters rise above
Alaska's admirable challenge.
Jayson Castro pulls up for the long tom
as Kelly Williams out-positions Sonny Thoss.

If Rain or Shine's effort was as big as its heart, Shopinas.com would have been easily shrugged off Sunday. The Elasto Painters, however, were seemingly just going through the motions for the most part, giving head coach Yeng Guiao few reasons to be pleased following his team's victory.

Jeffrei Chan scored a team-high 14 points, but it was the help from the likes of Ryan Arana and Ronnie Matias in the decisive fourth period which enabled Rain or Shine to quash the challenge of Shopinas and snap out of an alarming skid. The win was the eighth in 13 games for Rain or Shine and snapped its losing streak at four games.

Jojo Duncil scattered a career-high 23 points to pace Shopinas, which had a splendid start, but failed to take advantage of Rain or Shine’s losing prized rookie Paul Lee early in the game due to injury and center JR Quinahan to a major infraction in the third quarter. Lee, usually good for 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.0 steal per game, saw action for only two minutes in the first quarter. He left the game after getting kneed in the left shin by a driving Ogie Menor. Quinahan also left the game due to an elbow on Menor's face, equivalent to a flagrant foul-penalty 2, with still 3:45 left in the third period.

Rain or Shine 88 - Chan 14, Arana 12, Quinahan 12, Matias 9, Norwood 9, Cruz 7, Tang 7, Belga 7, Rodriguez 7, Buenafe 4, Lee 0, Ibanes 0.
Shopinas.com 81 - Duncil 23, Jazul 17, Sena 11, Hubalde 9, Espiritu 7, Ritualo 6, Menor 4, Sison 2, Daa 2, Escobal 0, Aquino 0, Se 0.
QS: 19-27, 41-32, 61-55, 88-81

Ogie Menor didn't make a lot of friends with the Elasto-Painters.

Elmer Espiritu and Ogie Menor fly by Jervy Cruz.
Ronnie Matias gets a taste of Elmer Espiritu's hip
underneath the basket.

Barangay Ginebra held Meralco down to 27 points in the first half and to 7 points in the last 8:21 of play in a fine defensive job leading to its 800th win in franchise history. The Kings drubbed the Bolts as they sustained their climb, notching a third straight win to the delight of their throngs that braved the rainy Sunday.

Sol Mercado and Mark Cadona, Meralco’s two-man scoring machine, combined for 38 points, but the rest of Meralco was limited to 33.

Mike Cortez, Ronald Tubid, Mark Caguioa and Rico Villanueva led the job on the other end, each one finishing in double figures. Cortez, Villanueva, Caguioa, Tubid and Willy Wilson teamed up in their most decisive attack, a 13-2 run that gave the Kings a 79-66 lead with 1:46 left to play.

Mercado led all scorers with 22 points that went with 9 assists and 6 steals. Cardona added 16 points and 7 rebounds.

Ginebra 81- Cortez 14, Tubid 13, Caguioa 13, Villanueva 11, Canaleta 9, Wilson W. 6, Mamaril 6, Intal 5, Lbagala 4, Wilson J. 0, Menk 0.
Meralco 71 - Mercado 22, Cardona 16, Espinas 7, Macapagal 7, Isip 6, Yee 5, Hugnatan 4, Lanete 2, Omolon 2, Ballesteros 0, Borboran 0, Taulava 0.
QS: 22-15, 36-27, 59-50, 81-71

Gabby Espinas is foiled by the extended defense
of Willy Wilson.
Sol Mercado doesn't let JC Intal escape unscathed.
Mark Caguioa wards off the challenge posed by
Mac Cardona and the Bolts.

Source: Game recaps were compressed and compiled from PBA.ph
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