PBA: Bolts torch Beermen, 106-99; force a sudden-death match

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco Bolts, the only MVP Team which made it to the PBA  playoffs this conference, burned San Miguel Beermen, 106-99 to live another day on Saturday, June 27 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, in Cubao, Quezon City.

Andre Emmet passes through Arwind Santos
Andre Emmet passes through Arwind Santos | Credit: Interaksyon
“We will use our biggest advantage against Meralco Bolts. Our height advantage, Junmar Fajardo.” San Miguel Beermen Head Coach Leo Austria’s own words prior to the opening tipoff.

True to his word, Coach Austria’s prized center found a clear and early mismatch on Meralco Bolt’s Reynal Hugnatan for a 5 quick points in less than a minute. Fajardo, the league’s leading candidate for the Best Player of the Conference manned and dominated Bolt’s under-sized center in the shaded lane.

Meralco Head Coach Norman Black tried and gambled on his back-up bigman John Ferriols who was also assigned to guard and stop SMB’s immovable Fajardo under the rim. Aside from his height, fresh legs were also Junmar’s edges over the aging Ferriols and Hugnatan. Standing at 6’10”, Fajardo sprinted coast to coast for fast break plays and left his defenders behind. The former University of Cebu behemoth finished the first 12 minutes of the ball game with 10 points and his team with a 12-point, 28-16 lead.

Meralco made a great run in the early phase of the second period to close the gap 31-28 courtesy of Jarred Dillinger who came off the bench that prompted Coach Austria to call a timeout to stop Meralco’s scoring momentum.

After the timeout, Andre Emmett fired a three-pointer followed by Kelly Nabong’s back-to-back layups. Meralco snatched the lead from San Miguel with Jarred Dillinger’s open court shot and forced Coach Leo Austria to burn another timeout.

Jarred Dillinger and Kelly Nabong surprisingly had 11 and 9 points respectively after the 1st half along with Andre Emmett’s own version of 11 markers. Meralco’s run left them with a half-shot lead heading to locker room, 50-49.

Before this Saturday Double Header’s main game, Rain Or Shine Elasto Painters ended Barako Bull’s conference via a playoff-rare double overtime win, 134-132. Painters were consistently controlling the ball until midway of the fourth quarter were Liam McMorrow, Joseph Yeo and JC Intal all together cut their scoring deficit and tied the game for the 1st overtime. Both teams fought gallantly and realized that a 5-minute extension was not enough to settle the tight match. Paul Lee who scored 23 big points and won the Best Player of the Game took charge in the 2nd extra period and made a clutch spin move-layup in front of Barako Bull’s seven-footer-import for the lead. The Bulls had a chance to tie the game 134 all for the 3rd OT but Chico Lanete missed a contested short jumper. Nothing to be ashamed of for the Barako Bulls for pushing the Painters to their limits.

Dillinger brought his waxing hot hands in the penultimate quarter with a trey. But fellow Fil-am Marcio Lassiter countered with his own three for the 3rd deadlock of the game.

Not ready to go home yet.

Playing a team with a twice-to-beat advantage is not an easy task to handle. Meralco had answers to all baskets that San Miguel made, regardless if it’s a 2-pointer or a three. The Bolts were just seizing every moment in order for them to live another day just like Purefoods Star Hotshots who simply took inexperienced-Globalport’s twice-to-beat advantage last night.

The third quarter became almost a three point shooting contest between Jarred Dillinger and Marcio Lassiter who both had 4 successful 3-pointers.

SMB reinforcement, AZ Reid was barely felt in the 1st 3 quarters with just 15 unusual points against his counterpart Andre Emmett who had 20 marching onto the final period. The Bolts still had the lead 83-78.

Ronald Tubid opened the final quarter with a rare 4-point play to trim Bolts’ lead to just 1. But Gary David was quick to react, burying a cold-blooded trey with Tubid in front of him followed by a sweet baseline jumper from Emmett.

At the 6:00 minute mark of the final quarter, third-string-center and bruiser Kelly Nabong played his best basketball game so far in his PBA career with 15 points and 12 rebounds while his team was savoring a 7-point, 99-92 lead. Nabong was awarded with Best Player of the Game award for his A+ performance.

The Beermen on the other hand didn’t want to waste their twice-to-beat advantage blitzed a 9-0 run to tie the ball game 99 all courtesy of “The Kraken” Junmar Fajardo with a game-high of 30 points. In just a blink of an eye, Reynel Hugnatan broke the deadlock with a soft touch in the rainbow territory for a single ball possession 102-99 lead.

With just a minute remaining in the ball game, Cliff Hodge and Andre Emmet scored 2 quick layups to add 4 more points to their lead. The Bolts melted the clock to secure the win and forced a rubber match come Monday.

1st GAME Score

RAIN OR SHINE 134 - McKines 36, Lee 23, Tiu 14, Chan 12, Arana 12, Belga 11, Norwood 8, Almazan 7, Quinahan 5, Tang 4, Cruz Jervy 2, Uyloan 0, Ibanes 0, Teng 0, Cruz Jericho 0.

BARAKO 132 - McMorrow 32, Garcia 25, Intal 16, Yeo 16, Wilson 16, Lanete 10, Pascual 8, Salva 4, Hubalde 2, Maierhofer 2, Chua 1, Ababou 0, Salvador 0.

2nd GAME Score

MERALCO 106 – Emmett 28, Dillinger 21, Nabong 15, David 9, Anthony 9, Hugnatan 9, Hodge 6, Ando 5, Cortez 4, Ildefonso 0, Ferriols 0

SAN MIGUEL 99 – Fajardo 30, Reid 21, Lassiter 17, Tubid 15, Ross 6, Santos 5, Lutz 3, Cabagnot 2, Espinas 0, Reyes 0

- D' Waterboy, TheSummitExpress

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