Fastbreak: West, Monfort stand tall for Meralco, Barako

Enzo Flojo

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Mario West and Emman Monfort stood tall in leading their teams to victory.

WEST FOR GILAS? West could be a perfect fit for Gilas. File photo by PBA Images/Nuki Sabio. 

Meralco Bolts (92) – (86) Talk N’ Text Tropang Texters

The Best: Man, Cliff Hodge. The former NLEX Road Warrior dropped 18 points, 15 rebounds, and connected on 3 triples for the Bolts. Yeah, looks like Calvin Abueva might not be as much of a runaway ROY as we all think. It stinks that he shot just 38% from the 2-point area, but he more than made up for it by outplaying Tony Mitchell on the glass.

The Worst: Ranidel De Ocampo was definitely not in top-form for this game. The Gilas standout shot just 1/10 from the field, finishing with 2 points in 31 minutes. Looks like it might take a couple more games before Ranidirk can get his groove back.

How about Mario West as a candidate for naturalization?: Yes, he’s 29 years old already, but, man, did you see him score 47 points?! Oh, and he added 8 rebounds and 5 assists to boot! He’s just 6’5″, but at the Asian level he has the potential to be a really dominant force? What say you?

Barako Bull Energy Cola (104) – (91) Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings

The Best: Emman Monfort is making Rajko Toroman look like a genius. The pint-sized PG from Ateneo netted a career-high 25 points on 5/10 3-point shooting along with 2 assists and 2 rebounds. He thoroughly outplayed Gilas playmaker LA Tenorio, who ended up with just 4 points on 1/10 FG shooting. Tenorio did have 7 rebounds and 8 assists, but he was struggling all game long to catch up with the cat-quick Monfort.

The Worst: Japeth Aguilar landed awkwardly in one play, putting too much pressure on his right knee. He is now in sick bay with a feared MCL injury. That screams yikes for both the Gin Kings and for the Gilas Pilipinas program, since Japeth is an integral part of both. If it is an MCL injury, then expect the high-leaping stretch forward to be out for at least a few months.

Singletary’s Single-mindedness: This much is clear, Mike Singletary is here for one purpose only — to win basketball games. Though Barako Bull doesn’t boast of the deepest roster, they are at the top of the standings with a 3-1 slate. They are tied with the Petron Blaze Boosters, who are also riding high after a forgettable Commish Cup campaign. The big question for both teams, of course, is can they sustain that momentum all the way to the playoffs. –

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