Barako Bull escapes Meralco in Govs Cup opener

Jane Bracher
Barako Bull escapes Meralco in Govs Cup opener
The Barako Bull Energy Cola squeak out a 1 point victory in the Governor's Cup opener, led by a second-generation PBA import

MANILA, Philippines – As the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) enters its season-ending 2014 PBA PLDT Home Telpad Governors’ Cup, the Barako Bull Energy Cola are already off to a good start. 

It would also appear, for now, that they made quite a ‘wise’ decision on bringing in 24-year old import Eric Wise. 

The 6-foot-6 former USC Trojan and a second-generation PBA import (his father was Francois Wise, who played for 5 seasons in the PBA from 1981-1987) dropped 33 points, grabbed 16 rebounds and dished out 6 assists in 41 minutes of playing time for his first PBA game with the Energy. 

But it was his 33rd point that allowed Barako to squeak past the Meralco Bolts, 95-94, to gain their first win of the conference on Sunday, May 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

Playing only in his second overseas stint, Wise was quick to use his mind and outsmart his counterpart at Meralco, NBA veteran Terrence Williams, as he fished for the foul on his way up for a jumper in the dying seconds of the hard-fought contest. 

With 1.3 seconds remaining, Wise took care of his first charity and wisely missed the second, leaving a Meralco squad all out of timeouts heaving from across the court for a Hail Mary shot that surprisingly hit the rim but didn’t go in. 

“The best way to describe what we’re trying to do right now is basically just like the Chinese adage, ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step’ so that’s how I’m looking at this one,” explained Barako coach Siot Tanquingcen, who took over for Bong Ramos as new head coach. 

“We just gotta take that step and hopefully try to correct some things we need to improve on and just enjoy the journey, wherever it takes us.”

It was a good first step for the Energy despite blowing a 21-point second quarter lead, 46-25, as they managed to keep their heads in the game and finish what they started. 

“Somehow they (Meralco) got hot, and I mean they got really hot,” Tanquingcen remarked, also adding how he kept his guys’ mentalities on the task at hand. “We just kept reminding the guys, as long as the shots are challenged. Just do your best to defend. Don’t get frustrated or don’t get discouraged. And that’s how we want to approach this conference.”

This game was definitely a show of that mental approach, what with the Bolts all charged up and firing 14 triples all game long – and 6 in the third frame alone. 

Jared Dillinger made it a 10-point game with another triple in the early goings of the fourth, 68-78. After which Barako had to settle for exchanging baskets with Meralco for alternating 11-point and 9-point leads. 

A Williams jumper with 6:22 left put an 86-75 spread on the scoreboard before Barako went on a 10-0 spurt to cut the deficit down to size, 85-86. 

The Bolts broke the 89-all deadlock with 1:06 on the clock with a huge trey by Williams, 89-92. 

But rookie Jeric Fortuna hit an even bigger three-pointer right after.

Given the green light by Tanquingcen to take open shots, Fortuna found himself open at the top of the key 5 seconds after Williams shot. He let the ball fly and knotted the score at 92. 

The 6-foot-6 Williams, a 2009 11th overall pick in the NBA Draft, then missed another three-point attempt (he went 4-of-20 from that distance throughout the match), before Wise got crafty at the post on the other end to make it a 94-92 Barako lead with 35.1 ticks left. 

Though Gary David (19 points) tied the game at 94 on a pair of charities, Meralco was unable to make the necessary stop to send the game to overtime.

Cliff Hodge paced the Bolts with 20 points, including 3-of-5 triples and 3-of-5 field goals, as well as 11 boards, two assists, two steals and two blocks. 

Williams finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. 

Fortuna, on the other hand, cashed in on 3 triples and two-of-4 field goals for his 13 markers as another rookie, Carlo Lastimosa, chipped in 10 points. 


BARAKO 95 – Wise 33, Fortuna 13, Lastimosa 10, Wilson 10, Miranda 8, Jensen 7, Marcelo 6, Intal 3, Pennisi 3, Thiele 2, Deutchman 0. 

MERALCO 94 – Hodge 20, Williams 19, David 19, Dillinger 8, Timberlake 6, Salvacion 6, Bringas 4, Hugnatan 4, Wilson 4, Ildefonso 2, Sena 2, Guevarra 0.

Quarter scores: 28-17, 52-39, 68-70, 95-94.

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.