B-MEG endured a tough game in its second straight outing, having to battle Barako Bull with import Denzel Bowles mired in foul trouble.
But Joe Devance stepped up as the Llamados outlasted the Energy, 88-86, for their second straight win in the 2012 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Devance finished with 26 points while Marc Pingris, JC Intal and James Yap helped B-MEG rally from a double-digit deficit in the first half.
“We were playing hard, but we were not playing smart in the first half. You need to do both,” said B-MEG coach Tim Cone
“We didn’t have the concentration which we wanted in the first half. We were throwing the ball and we even couldn’t make a couple of inbounds.”
Bowles played limited minutes after picking up three fouls in the first quarter. He committed another foul after returning in the second period, as Barako took a 52-41 lead at the half.
Barako padded its lead to as high as 14 points, 55-41, in the third quarter, but the Bowles helped B-MEG come back with 10 points in the period while Devance and Pingris combined for 15.
Pingris had two dunks, including a thundering putback dunk over Mark Andaya that led to a three-point play. His short stab with 1:24 left in the third quarter gave the Llamados the lead.
The fourth quarter was a nip-and-tuck affair, with B-MEG taking an 87-83 lead entering the last two minutes off six combined points from Devance and Bowles.
The Llamados was still holding on to that lead when Willie Miller hit a clutch three-pointer with 11.1 seconds left to cut the Barako deficit to one point, 87-86.
Barako sent Josh Urbiztondo to the foul line in the next play. The guard split his charities, giving Barako one last chance.
The last play was designed for Miller, who was able to shake off three B-MEG defenders, but missed a potential game-tying banked shot as the final buzzer sounded.
“I’d like to tip my hat off to Pingris, who played a tremendous second half. JC also did a great job defensively while Roger [Yap] stepped up down the stretch for the second straight game for us,” said Cone.
Pingris achieved a milestone on Wednesday by becoming the 42nd player to join the 1,000-offensive rebound club. He was the fifth player to reach the feat this season after Kerby Raymundo, Sonny Thoss, Don Allado, and Rico Villanueva.
Bowles had 19 points for the Llamados while James Yap, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, added 14.
Barako import DerMarr Johnson, who posed problems for the Llamados’ wingmen in the first half, scored 21 points, but was limited two only two points in the second half. Don Allado added 14 points for the Energy, which lost after winning its opener versus Alaska last Friday.
B-MEG (88) — Devance 26, Bowles 19, Yap 14, Pingris 9, Intal 8, Urbiztondo 4, De Ocampo 3, Reavis 2, Yap, R. 2, Barroca 1, Simon 0.
Barako Bull (86) — Johnson 21, Allado 14, Pennisi 12, Miller 9, Tubid 8, Pena 7, Arboleda 5, Salvador 4, Lanete 2, Andaya 2, Najorda 2.
Quarterscores: 26-23; 41-52; 69-71; 88-86