Heart and Sol (Soul)
Meralco was inspired by the return of spitfire Solomon Mercado to defeat erstwhile undefeated Petron Blaze Boosters. Sol Mercado came off the bench to lead the Bolts in scoring with 16 markers. It is his first game of the season as he was recovering from a knee injury. Mercado went hot in the second period to give the Bolts a 6 point lead at the end of the first half. The rest of his teammates took charge of the second half to hand Petron its first loss of the season.
“It’s another artillery for us,” said Ryan Gregorio on the impact of Mercado’s return. “He gave us a huge lift offensively and it’s a confidence booster for us. But more importantly, we know we have another live body.”
Mercado also finished with 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 triples in 27 minutes of action. Gabby Espinas had 14 points and 12 rebounds to negate Arwind Santos‘ usual double-double performance (17 pts, 13 rebs, 4 blks). Rookie Chris Lutz of Petron had virtual free throw party making 14 of his 16 points from the charity stripe.
It was defense of Meralco that won the game as they limited Petron to a 32.4% FG percentage. They also made 8 steals and forced 17 turnovers.
In the main game, Rain or Shine made Alaska look like a college team as they thrashed the Aces, 120-84, for its 4th win of the season. With the win, the Elasto Painters grabbed the top spot in the Philippine Cup standings. Alaska joins Shopinas.com at the bottom with a 0-4 win-loss record.
Jeff Chan hit 6 of his 10 3-pt shot attempts to finish with 20 points. He lead 3 others in double figures for RoS. J.R. Quinahan had 19 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 triple. Ronjay Buenafe had 17 points, and 2 triples. Larry Rodriguez finished with 16 points, and 6 rebounds. As a team, the Painters shot 51.9% in 3-point land (14 of 27). They poured it on even when they lost coach Yeng Guiao late in the 3rd quarter after he was removed from the game for getting a second technical foul.
“I think this is our best offensive game so far,” said Coach Yeng on how his team performed.
Alaska was lead by its guard trio of L.A. Tenorio, Brandon Cablay, and Cyrus Baguio who combined for 48 points and 12 assists. The rest of Aces though shot an atrocious 26.7% from the field (12 of 45). The loss is probably the biggest losing margin in the Aces’ history.
MERALCO 80 – Mercado 16, Espinas 14, Lanete 9, taulava 8, Isip 7, Faundo 6, Macapagal 6, Omolon 6, Borboran 5, Yee 3, Ballesteros 0.
PETRON 70 – Santos 17, Lutz 16, Yeo 11, Miranda 7, Cabagnot 6, Ildefonso 6, Agustin 3, Baclao 2, Sharma 2, Guevarra 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 18-17, 36-30, 58-49, 80-70
RAIN OR SHINE 120 – Chan 20, Quinahan 19, Buenafe 17, Rodriguez 16, Norwood 9, Arana 9, Cruz 7, Lee 5, Ibanes 5, Uyloan 4, Matias 3, Jaime 3, Belga 3.
ALASKA 84 – Tenorio 20, Cablay 15, Baguio 13, Baracael 8, Dela Cruz 8, Thoss 7, Custodio 5, Reys 4, Salamat 3, Bugia 1, Mepana 0, Thiele 0, Eman 0.
Quarterscores: 32-18, 53-45, 81-62, 120-84