B-MEG came out firing early in the game before having to weather the Meralco charge in the second half to hack out a 95-85 win in Game Two of their best-of-three quarterfinal series of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Llamados’ win leveled their series to 1-all and set up a do-or-die match on Sunday.
Marc Pingris had his best game of the tournament with a personal conference-high of 21 points on 7-of-8 shooting to lead B-MEG to a much-needed win. He added nine rebounds and two blocks.
“The key was we did come out and gave them a physical presence,” said Llamados coach Tim Cone, who also drew 20 markers from Denzel Bowles.
“Meralco did a great job gathering themselves after halftime, they came back and gave us problems. (Earl) Barron was wonderful. We defended him well in the first half but hit some tough shots. The game was in doubt until PJ’s (Simon) breakaway lay-up.”
Manhandled by Meralco in Game One, 103-81, the Llamados came out more prepared and displayed their defensive intensity early on.
That ploy worked as Mac Cardona, who had 22 points in Game One, got ejected at 10:50 mark of the first quarter for hitting Bowles on the head.
He was whistled for a flagrant foul penalty one for the play. Because he was already called for a technical foul seconds into the game, he was thrown out of the playing court.
“If you slap on somebody’s face, that was the right call. That was certainly not our fault,” said Cone.
That inspired B-MEG as it erected its biggest lead at 39-13 before settling for a 52-29 halftime lead.
But Meralco, behind Barron, Sol Mercado and Mark Macapagal, unloaded 39 points in the third period and sliced the lead to 76-68 entering the fourth quarter.
The Bolts came to within six points twice, the last at 91-85, but Simon sealed the win with a breakaway layup to push the score to 95-85 with under a minute remaining.
Barron had a game-high 39 points while Mercado added 18, but only one in the fourth period.
B-MEG 95 – Pingris 21, Bowles 20, Simon 15, Urbiztondo 13, Devance 10, Yap 8, Intal 4, Barroca 2, Reavis 2, De Ocampo 0.
MERALCO 85 – Barron 39, Mercado 18, Macapagal 9, Taulava 7, Ross 4, Timberlake 2, Yee 2, Aljamal 2, Cardona 2, Borboran 0, Hugnatan 0.
Quarterscores: 32-13, 52-29, 76-68, 95-85