2013 PBA Governors’ Cup Roundup: September 6, 2013

Meralco and Alaska gained a lot of ground after contrasting wins last night in the 2013 PBA Governors’ Cup. The Bolts leaned on the hot shooting of former JRU Heavy Bomber John Wilson to beat the Elasto-Painters, while the Aces got a huge lift from the great production of veteran big man Sonny Thoss.

John Wilson stepped up big time for the Bolts.

In the opener, Meralco overcame Rain or Shine, 82-76, with Fil-American Cliff Hodge looking to barge into the conversation for this season's ROY. He has been the most consistent rookie performer in this conference so far, and he continued to play well against ROS. He dropped 17 points, grabbed 5 rebounds, had 3 steals, and blocked 2 shots tonight. Don't count out the former Sinag Pilipinas player just yet!

Also loved how John Wilson rose to the occasion in this one. He has been one of coach Ryan Gregorio's top perimeter options this conference, but he really broke out here, hitting 3 triples on his way to a team-high 18 markers. He also hauled down 5 rebounds, dished out 3 assists, and had 1 steal. In contrast, usual starter Mac Cardona played only 6 minutes and laid a big fat egg. Changing of the guard -- literally?

As for the Painters, their shooting woes continue. What is with Jeff Chan and Gabe Norwood anyway? Somehow, the terrific Gilas tandem just cannot buy breakout games. They combined for a dismal 2/11 FG shooting performance in this one, ending up with just 5 points total in a combined 47 minutes of play. #WakeUpPlease

In the nightcap, Alaska won over Talk N Text, 112-104, by controlling the boards and playing great defense. The Aces outrebounded the Tropang Texters, 56-47, with Wendell McKines, Sonny Thoss, and Calvin Abueva each netting at least 11 boards. Coach Luigi Trillo's boys also played great defense, as indicated by 5 steals and 6 blocked shots. Alaska's interior was airtight here, forcing TNT to attempt 26 treys. The Texters made just 6.

The starting backcourt of coach Norman Black didn't do much here. Larry Fonacier and Ryan Reyes paired up for 31 minutes, producing a combined 4 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. Yes, we know that TNT will go with a Jimmy-Jayson duo when the going gets rough, but, hey, don't forget that BOTH Fonacier and Reyes were part of the Gilas pool, too. Their underwhelming performance just makes me scratch my head.

In contrast Alaska’s "The Boss" Sonny Thoss was bloody good here. 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, and 60% FG shooting? Wow. Talk about outplaying (albeit slightly) TNT's Ranidel De Ocampo. Looks like Thoss is out to prove something to the madlang people.

Game Scores:
The Meralco Bolts proved they didn’t need another monster game from import Mario West to keep its winning streak alive.

The energetic import, who averaged 39.5 points in the past two games, was limited to just 17 against Rain or Shine. But the Bolts still managed to defeat the Elasto Painters, 82-76, in their duel on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The victory, the Bolts’ third straight, gave Meralco the solo second spot in the Governors’ Cup standings with a 4-2 win-loss record.

“We really dug deep to find ways to win,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio. “It was again a defensive struggle, but it was the only way for us to win.”

John Wilson and Cliff Hodge picked up the slack offensively for West, finishing with 18 and 17 points, respectively.

But defense was the star of the show for the Bolts, who held Rain or Shine gunners Paul Lee and Jeff Chan to a combined seven points on 3-of-19 shooting from the field.

“Defense is our strongest armor,” said Gregorio.

Fittingly, it was defensive effort that saved Meralco in the endgame, foiling successive attempts from Lee and Chan after Rain or Shine cut what was a 12-point deficit down to just two points in the dying minutes.

“We’re just so happy to win over three big teams, but we’re not satisified,” added Gregorio, whose team had previously won over Talk ‘N Text and Alaska.

Arizona Reid had 22 points and nine rebounds while Jireh Ibanes added 18 and eight for the Elasto Painters, whose record fell to 3-3.

MER 82 – Wilson 18, Hodge 17, West 17, Hugnatan 8, Guevarra 6, Reyes 6, Ross 4, Timberlake 4, Allado 2, Cardona 0.
ROS 76 – Reid 22, Ibanes 18, Quinahan 9, Lee 5, Cruz 5, Belga 5, Matias 3, Norwood 3, Tang 2, Chan 2, Arana 2, Rodriguez 0.
QS: 21-20, 44-37, 66-59, 82-76

Coach Yeng Guiao struggles to find answers for ROS.

Reynel Hugnatan continued his strong play
against Arizona Reid.

ALASKA over TALK N TEXT, 112-104
Import Wendell McKines had 38 points and 16 rebounds, but it was the key contributions of locals Cyrus Baguio and Sonny Thoss in a blistering third quarter assault that made the difference in Alaska’s 112-104 victory over Talk ‘N Text on Friday night at Mall of Asia Arena.

Baguio and Thoss scored nine points apiece in the third period, which saw the Aces outscore the Tropang Texters, 38-28, to take control after a tied game at halftime.

“They came out with an awareness and a sense of urgency that we needed to win the third quarter,” said Alaska coach Luigi Trillo, who praised his players for helping McKines find his groove early in the game.

“I thought we got Wendell in his comfort zone,” said Trillo of his import, who bullied his way to 27 points in the first half.

“He played with more energy today. I thought we were looking for him, and that’s what we need to do.

“He rewarded us with his effort and his energy.”

Trillo also noted that the Aces did a better job taking care off the ball and limiting their turnovers compared to their last outing, a loss against Meralco.

“We gave up 21 that game, today we only had 10,” said Trillo.

The loss spoiled the return of Talk ‘N Text captain Jimmy Alapag, who rejoined the team after a vacation in the United States. The Gilas Pilipinas court general joined fellow national teammates Jayson Castro, Ranidel De Ocampo, and Larry Fonacier, who returned to the team two games earlier.

“Overall they’re still not in sync, the Gilas guys,” said Trillo. “It’s hard for them when you have new guys coming in the middle of the season.”

Thoss finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Baguio had 15 points for Alaska, whose win-loss record improved to 3-2. The Aces enjoyed balanced scoring with eight of the nine players who saw action scoring at least six points.

Tony Mitchell led Talk ‘N Text with 30 points and 12 rebounds. De Ocampo finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Jayson Castro had 15 points and eight assists for the Tropang Texters, who lost for the third time in five games.

ALA 112 – McKines 38, Thoss 16, Baguio 15, Espinas 9, Hontiveros 9, Jazul 8, Dela Cruz 8, Casio 6, Abueva 3.
TNT 104 – Mitchell 30, De Ocampo 17, Castro 15, Anthony 10, Peek 9, Alapag 7, Al-Hussaini 6, Aban 6, Fonacier 4, Reyes 0, Carey 0.
QS: 19-16, 48-48, 86-76, 112-104

Jimmy Alapag finally returns to PBA action.

Sonny Thoss was solid for Alaska.

Wendell McKines gets past Tony Mitchell.

Source: Unless otherwise specified, game recaps were compressed and compiled from InterAKTV. (Writing credit to Rey Joble)

Images: Images are from InterAKTV. (Photo credit to Paul Ryan Tan)

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