PBA Roundup: April 4-10, 2012

Denzel Bowles slams the rock hard as the B-Meg Llamados
continue to roll in the 2012 Commissioner's Cup.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)

B-MEG had an easy time taking Macmac Cardona out of the game Wednesday.  The rest of Meralco proved to be another matter, however, and the Llamados went through the wringer before fashioning a victory that sent their PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals series into a deciding game.

Marc Pingris, Denzel Bowles and Josh Urbiztondo set the tone for the Llamados in the highly physical confrontation while PJ Simon took the lead in the mop-up operations as they leveled the best-of-three duel at one game apiece and set up the rubber on Easter Sunday also at the Big Dome.

Cardona got thrown out just 70 seconds into the game, but it still took B-Meg a lot of doing as it had to withstand the loss of Bowles to fouls with still 2:03 left and Meralco's gritty fightback.

Sunday's deciding game should be no different from the most recent one that netted the protagonists a total 54 fouls called, almost double of Game 1's 29.

Following their opening loss, Cone lashed out at the referees and promptly received a call from PBA Commissioner Chito Salud. He did not delve on the officiating Wednesday, but warned of another tough match Sunday.

Pingris, who saw just 11 minutes of action in Game 1, played 29 Wednesday and scored a team-high 21 points on top of nine rebounds. It was his highest scoring output over the last three seasons.

Pingris actually started out guarding Cardona, but Urbiztondo made his teammate's job easier by first inciting Cardona to a technical foul before the prolific guard got ejected by slamming his hand on Bowles while they were sprawled under the Meralco basket.

Bowles added 20 and 11, with Simon and Urbiztondo combining for 28 points.

Earl Barron did not buy a single early basket in the face of Bowles' defense, but still finished with a personal conference-high 39 points and 18 rebounds, with 17 of his points coming in the third period that brought Meralco within 68-76. Sol Mercado added 11 of his 18 in that period and Cardona's main replacement, Mark Macapagal, seven of his nine that whittled B-Meg's lead that stood at 26 points twice, the last at 40-14, and 52-29 at the half.

BML 95 - Pingris 21, Bowles 20, Simon 15, Urbiztondo 13, Devance 10, Yap 8, Intal 4, Barroca 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 0.
MB 85 - Barron 39, Mercado 18, Macapagal 9, Taulava 7, Ross 4, Timberlake 2, Yee 2, Aljamal 2, Cardona 2, Borboran 0, Hugnatan 0.
QS: 32-13, 52-29, 76-68, 95-85

Josh Urbiztondo and Marc Pingris have become some sort
of a dynamic duo for the Llamados.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)
Sol Mercado and the Bolts lost on a golden
chance to sweep B-Meg.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)

Like B-Meg earlier in the night, Alaska Milk fought gallantly to stay alive, sending the PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals to a double-knockout finish on Easter Sunday. The Aces forced a one-game standoff with the Barako Bull Energy by riding a decisive third-quarter romp on the way to a  big victory.

The Aces handled new import Gabe Freeman well in his Barako Bull debut, holding him scoreless in the middle quarters. While clamping down on the former two-time Best Import winner, the Aces made a decisive run in the third period and went on to bounce back from their sorry 90-103 defeat in Game One Sunday.

Alaska starters LA Tenorio, Cyrus Baguio, Sonny Thoss, Mac Baracael and Adam Parada all put in double-digit outputs, and Sam Eman, Wesley Gonzales, Bonbon Custodio and Jay-R Reyes all helped coming off the bench.

Tenorio topscored with 22 points with Baguio adding 20, Thoss, 17, Baracael 16 and Parada 12. The Alaska import also hauled down 10 rebounds.

Freeman, who took over from Reggie Okosa, paced Barako with 22 though he went scoreless in the second and third periods. He also plucked 17 boards.

The two teams fought through four deadlocks and eight lead changes before the Aces took command in the third quarter and held on to the finish.

ALA 99 - Tenorio 22, Baguio 20, Thoss 17, Baracael 16, Parada 12, Eman 7, Gonzales 3, Custodio 2, Reyes 0.
BBE 92 - Freeman 22, Seigle 19, Tubid 15, Miller 13, Allado 8, Pennisi 6, Arboleda 5, Pena 4, Gatumbato 0, Weinstein 0, Najorda 0, Salvador 0.
QS: 28-34, 48-48, 77-63, 99-92

Samigue Eman slams one home despite the stiff
challenge from Barako's Gabe Freeman.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)
Adam Parada and Mick Pennisi mix it up down low.
(image by Paolo Papa/InterAKTV.com)

Barako Bull's hard work through the most sacred days of the Holy Week paid off. Gabe Freeman scattered 34 points and also had 19 rebounds, powering the Energy over the Alaska Aces Easter Sunday and into the PBA Commissioner's Cup semifinals.

Ronald Tubid and Willie Miller each came up with a 20 points as Barako's efforts from Maundy Thursday to Black Saturday in practices enabled it to put an emphatic finish to the best-of-three quarterfinals series that went the distance. As a result, the Energy lined themlseves up for a best-of-five semis duel with defending champion
Talk ‘N Text starting Tuesday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Barako coach Junel Baculi singled out the performance of Freeman, who arrived Tuesday last week and promptly delivered 22 points and 17 rebounds in a 92-99 loss in Game 2.

The two-time Best Import awardee arrived in lieu of the ineffective Reggie Okosa, who was in turn a replacement for Rodney White, who had to go home to attend to his ailing father, but not after averaging a conference-best 29.8 points and 13.2 rebounds in the five games he played.

Adam Parada led the Aces with 18 points and five assists, but he was limited to a personal conference-low seven rebounds and was already sitting out along with Baguio and Tenorio inside the last five minutes of the game, when the Energy had raced to leads of 23 points, the last at 99-76.

Also a victim of Barako's tenacious gang-rebounding and vicious boxing out tactics was Sonny Thoss, who was held to just six points, his second lowest output in the tourney, as well as a personal season-low two rebounds.

BBE 106 - Freeman 34, Tubid 20, Miller 20, Seigle 12, Najorda 10, Pennisi 3, Arboleda 3, Allado 2, Pena 2, Salvador 0.
ALA 85 - Parada 18, Baguio 14, Reyes 13, Baracael 12, Custodio 9, Tenorio 9, Thoss 6, Eman 2, Gonzales 2, Salamat 0, Gelig 0.
QS: 25-24, 55-42, 78-63, 106-85

Danny Seigle and the Energy continue to surprise
the doubters by defying their collective age.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/InterAKTV.com)
Ronald Tubid and the rest of Barako Bull put
a stop to BonBon Custodio and the Aces.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/InterAKTV.com)

Jonas Villanueva had his Easter resurrection, dishing out a giant scoreless fourth quarter to help B-Meg top Meralco in their knockout duel for the last slot in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Final Four.

Villanueva, the heady guard who’s just back from a yearlong layoff, rose up with clutch hustle plays, igniting a fiery B-Meg finish that set up a best-of-five semifinal confrontation between the Llamados and the Barangay Ginebra Kings beginning Wednesday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

B-Meg bench chieftain Tim Cone lauded Villanueva for facilitating their offense and playing good defense on Sol Mercado as the Llamados outhustled and outmaneuvered the Bolts in the payoff period. The Llamados wiped out a six-point deficit and prevailed with a double-digit margin as they held the Bolts without a single field-goal basket in the last 11 minutes. Villanueva logged two rebounds and two assists with one of his feeds setting up Bowles for a two-handed jam off Earl Barron that sparked their decisive run from 72-73 count. Drawing second wind, Bowles poured in 11 points in the last quarter against Barron’s three.

Curiously, Barron faded away at the finish, going 0-of-7 from the field in final period. The whole Meralco team missed all its last 16 field goals.

Mark Cardona failed to recover from his early disqualification in Game Two and was a non-factor in this do-or-die game. A shin injury didn't help the former La Salle star.

PJ Simon and Joe Devance fired 16 and 15, respectively, helping the Llamados arrange a first playoff series with the Kings in 15 years. The two popular ball clubs met in the Philippine Cup finals in 1988 and 1997 with Purefoods (now B-Meg) prevailing in their first matchup and Ginebra getting even in the next.

BML 86 - Bowles 28, Simon 16, Devance 15, Yap 9, Barroca 6, Pingris 6, Intal 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 2, Urbiztondo 0, Villanueva 0.
MB 76 - Mercado 27, Barron 23, Hugnatan 10, Ross 9, Macapagal 3, Cardona 2, Taulava 2, Borboran 0, Artadi 0.
QS: 21-23, 42-40, 61-67, 86-76

James Yap wasn't his usual sharp self, but the
Llamados still managed to clip the Bolts.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/InterAKTV.com)
Mac Cardona (R) couldn't recover from being
thrown out in Game 2.
(image by Paul Ryan Tan/InterAKTV.com)

Old and wise.

That’s what Barako Bull’s grizzled warriors have been proving as they are deep into the playoffs of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Danny Seigle and company continued to flaunt their vintage form, pulling the rug from under defending champion Talk n Text in Game One of their best-of-five semifinal showdown.

Energy Coach Junel Baculi, however, was quick to downplay their Game One win, saying the Texters were obviously rusty from their 12-day break. Baculi also mentioned the bad break suffered by Talk n Text in losing Kelly Williams to an injury right in the opening period.

The Energy took advantage of Williams’ early exit, imposing their size at the paint to dominate the rebounding battle, 67-45. Dorian Pena and Danny Seigle grabbed big rebounds keying a decisive 15-4 run that pushed Barako ahead to stay at 73-62. Wynne Arboleda had a significant contribution, banging away back-to-back treys to cap the crucial assault.

Pena, Seigle and Arboleda took over as Gabe Freeman slowed down after sizzling with 13 points and six rebounds in the first period. Seigle scattered 19 points, including nine in the final quarter as Barako Bull (formerly Air21) notched only its second win in 18 matches with Talk n Text over the last four years.

The Texters were outworked by their older rivals, and it certainly didn’t help they lost Williams so early in the game. The Fil-Am forward/center sustained a cut below his left eye in a collision with Ronald Tubid, and he was immediately rushed to a nearby hospital.

BBE 84 - Freeman 21, Seigle 19, Pena 11, Miller 10, Arboleda 9, Tubid 7, Pennisi 4, Allado 3, Najorda 0.
TNT 77 - Castro 27, Fonacier 14, Harvey 9, Dillinger 9, Carey 8, De Ocampo 4, Reyes 3, Williams 3, Gamalinda 0, Aguilar 0, Lao 0, Alapag 0.
QS: 24-23, 42-43, 58-58, 84-77

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from PBA.ph
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