Taha sparks Purefoods’ late-game surge to nip Meralco
MANILA, Philippines – Yousef Taha piloted an endgame upswing that pushed the Purefoods Star Hotshots past an inspired Meralco Bolts, 77-74, and extended Purefoods’ win streak to 3 in the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, November 23 at the Alonte Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.
After an up and down affair throughout the contest, Taha delivered the late-game heroics for Purefoods to cap off a 25-15 fourth quarter rally for the come-from-behind victory. The 26-year old journeyman scored 6 straight points to turn a 66-67 deficit into a 72-67 advantage towards the final two minutes of the contest.
Joe Devance followed that up with a corner jumper as Mark Barroca drained the dagger triple for a 77-69 edge with over a minute remaining. Gary David and Jared Dillinger conspired for 5 straight points but Dillinger's potential game-tying triple bounced off the rim as Meralco fell to 4-4.
The big man Taha – who has been traded back and forth and played for 5 teams since being drafted 11th overall in 2012 – rewarded coach Tim Cone’s faith in him with 14 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and two blocks coming off the bench.
PJ Simon and Barroca led the charge with 18 and 16 markers, respectively. Barroca went 3-of-7 from long range.
The Hotshots managed to sustain their comeback as they hiked their record to 4-3 after starting the conference at 1-3.
Meralco, on the other hand, was unable to carry over their huge win against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last Friday despite Gary David’s good shooting night that yielded 20 points on 4-of-9 triples. Dillinger chipped in 12 points and 5 boards.
Here are some photos of the game taken by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images