PBA Fastbreak: Rain or Shine, Meralco win big

The Best: Balance was the name of the game again for the Painters, as 8 players scored 7 or more points, with undersized big man Jervy Cruz leading the way. The former UST Growling Tiger shot a flawless 6/6 from the field on his way to 13 points in just 16 minutes. Gilas Pilipinas hopeful Paul Lee was the only other ROS player in double-digits with a dozen markers, but, as a team, the Painters shot much better from the field compared to their foes. ROS made 43% of their field goals, while Air 21 connected on less than 35%.

The Worst: Compounding the Express’ shooting woes was the poor form of wingmen Mac Cardona and Joseph Yeo. Usually quite reliable from the perimeter, both Yeo and Cardona paired up to shoot 0/8 from beyond the arc. Cardona also fared miserably from the 2-point area, making just 2 of his 7 attempts while Yeo turned the ball over 3 times. Needless to say, the Express just couldn’t get much going from their two top wing players.

Wonderless Wayne?: Wayne Chism’s defense was quite solid in this game. He pulled down 6 defensive boards, got 2 steals, and blocked just as many shots. His offense, however, was forgettable. The former Tennessee Volunteer missed all but 2 of his 12 field goal attempts to finish with a grand total of 6 points in 28 minutes — definitely not the kind of production we’re used to seeing from supposedly top-flight imports. 

The Best: Against all likelihood, the underappreciated Meralco Bolts might just be peaking at the right time. This huge win over the Mixers is Meralco’s second in a row, and, more importantly, it puts the Bolts into a secure spot right in the middle of the quarterfinal pack. This means that coach Ryan Gregorio’s crew is assured of a best-of-three affair in the next round no matter who they face, instead of the prospect of a twice-to-best disadvantage against either of the top two teams. The locals came through once again for Meralco, as Gilas Pilipinas stalwarts Jared Dillinger and Gary David combined to score 39 points. Dillinger continued his hot streak from long range, making 3 of his 4 treys, while El Granada used a variety of moves and jumpers to drop 18 markers. This is the fourth straight game David has scored 15 or more points, which is a good sign for the streaking Bolts.

The Worst: Coach Tim Cone’s wards were just shells of their true selves. Both Marc Pingris and Justin Melton missed the game due to separate injuries, while import James Mays and gunner James Yap weren’t 100% (they have back issues). Still, Mays impressed with 33 points and 11 boards. One cannot doubt this guy’s heart. The wounded Mixers, though, despite putting up a good fight in the first half, just couldn’t hang with Meralco for the full 48.

Kansas Cool: Former Kansas Jayhawk Darnell Jackson had his best game so far, tallying 31 markers, 18 boards, 4 dimes, and 2 thefts. He shot 54% from the floor and 71% from the line, too. Slowly but surely, the 2008 NBA Draft pick has proven himself a worthy successor to the streaky Brian Butch. Meralco has gone 2-1 with Jackson in tow, and he looks to be the perfect compliment to the Bolts’ plethora of shooters. Whoever faces Meralco in the quarterfinals has to worry about this guy big time. - Rappler.com