By Adrian Stewart Co
Meralco Bolts pushed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings to the brink of dethronement with a 79-66 beating in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Rookie Alvin Pasaol and Rey Mark Belo spearheaded the offense with 15 markers apiece, while Chris Newsome added 10 markers as the Bolts finished the eliminations at second place with 9-2 win-loss slate.
The Bolts surged to a 10-0 start with quick hits from Belo, Raymond Almazan and Kier John Quinto. Consecutive three-pointers from Pasaol maintained Meralco’s lead at 23-15.
Meralco went on with its rampage in the second period for a 47-32 halftime edge. Barangay Ginebra countered with a huge rampage in the third quarter to trim the deficit to 51-55.
The Bolts capitalized on the Kings’ miscues in the fourth for a 63-53 lead on a layup by Ilonggo Anjo Caram. A triple by Newsome and inside conversions by Raymon Jamito pushed the lead to 79-66.
“Despite it being a no-bearing game, we just want to have a victory to have a momentum going into the playoffs. We do not want to go into the playoffs with a loss,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black.
Stanley Pringle top-scored with 19 points, while Christian Standhardinger had double-double 17 points and 11 rebounds as the defending champions Kings dropped to 4-7.
Barangay Ginebra, however, will still have to wait the outcome of the second game between NorthPort Batang Pier and Alaska Aces to determine if they still have a shot at eighth and final quarterfinals seat.
If ever the Batang Pier wins, the Kings will face Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters in a do-or-die game on Saturday. If the Aces wins, Ginebra will be eliminated with the Fuel Masters battling Terrafirma Dyip.
MERALCO 79 – Pasaol 15, Belo 15, Newsome 10, Quinto 8, Maliksi 7, Jamito 7, Almazan 6, Caram 4, Hodge 3, Pinto 2, Baclao 2, Jackson 0.
GINEBRA 66 – Pringle 19, Standhardinger 17, Tenorio 11, Chan 7, Mariano 6, Devance 4, Dillinger 2, Enriquez 0, Caperal 0, R. Aguilar 0, Holmqvist 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15, 47-32, 55-51, 79-66./ASC, WDJ