Meralco continued to play well though crippled by injuries, scoring a second straight win in the 2011-12 PBA Philippine Cup with an 84-78 upset of B-Meg Saturday night at The Arena in San Juan.
The Bolts again put up a solid defensive job together and banked on Chico Lanete, Mark Isip, Mark Borboran and Asi Tauvala for the offensive firepower in chalking up a follow-up to their initial victory over the Shopinas.com Clickers Wednesday.
Lanete and Isip kept Meralco afloat with their torrid shooting in the first 40 minutes then Taulava and Borboran took over to deliver important baskets at the finish.
Lanete sizzled with 24 points, nine assists and three steals while Isip shone with 18 before Taulava and Borboran stepped in to fend off the Llamados’ endgame chase.
Meralco caught up with Rain or Shine at third place with its second win after a losing debut versus Talk n Text. B-Meg, meanwhile, slid to joint seventh with Barangay Ginebra as it absorbed a second loss in three starts. For Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, it’s his second win in six matches with his former team. The Llamados had come to within one, 76-77, after falling behind by 12, 63-75, when Taulava and Borboran teamed up to bail their team out of imminent danger.
Taulava twice scored off Kerby Raymundo while Borboran scored on a layup after grabbing a loose ball as Meralco established a six-point cushion at 82-78 with time down to 1:32.
The Llamados failed to recover anymore with Mark Barroca and James Yap missing critical attempts in the face of Meralco’s rock-solid defense.
Lanete stepped up big time early on, drilling in two triples and a charity as Meralco opened a 12-point spread at 75-63 with 8:41 left to play.
Earlier, Laneta and Isip fired 12 points each and Borboran added eight as the Bolts took the half at 45-41.
Both teams shot in the high 50s (field goal percentage) in the first half capped by Lanete with booming three-pointer. “I just did my job. We all know that we have to step up while playing without Mac Cardona, Sol Mercado and Chris Ross,” said Lanete. (SB)
The scores: Meralco 84 – Lanete 24, Isip 18, Borboran 10, Taulava 8, Espinas 8, Yee 5, Omolon 5, Timberlake 4, Macapagal 2, Ballesteros 0.
B-Meg 78 – Yap J. 19, Raymundo 15, Devance 9, Reavis 8, Simon 7, Yap R. 5, Barroca 5, Pingris 4, Ferriols 4, Maierhofer 2, Urbiztondo 0.
Quarterscores: 17-15, 45-41, 68-60, 84-78