MANILA, Philippines - The Petron Blaze Boosters banked on consistency to shut down the Meralco Bolts, 96-87, on Saturday January 18 in the PLDT myDSL Philippine Cup at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
"It's big win for us coming from a loss," Petron head coach Gee Abanilla said. "Coming into the playoffs we want some sort of momentum and positive attitude."
Petron shook off a cold start and bounced back strong in the second quarter, breaking the game wide open behind a 29-point drubbing of Meralco. Reigning PBA MVP Arwind Santos was the main author of that onslaught, dropping 13 of his 17 points in that period. Turnover points also favored Petron, 14-4, as they made the Bolts pay for their 9 second period miscues.
As Santos cooled down a bit, Petron's defense clamped down harder on Meralco in the second half and consistency on offense and defense kicked in for them.
In addition, Chris Ross graced the Boosters with a monster performance of 18 points as he did damage on both ends of the floor.
The 28-year old 6-foot-2 playmaker opened the final canto with a steal and fast break basket to make things happen for Petron. He later gave the Boosters its largest lead of the match at 19 points, 89-70, at the 5:52 mark on a breakaway reverse layup.
Photo by NukiSabio/PBA Images
Danny I vs The Kraken
This match was highly anticipated primarily because it marked the first time veteran center Danny Ildefonso went head to head against his former student at Petron June Mar 'The Kraken' Fajardo.
Fajardo took one over his mentor by registering his tenth double-double of the conference. He finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
Ildefonso, on the other hand, also had his fair share of moments over his former student as he scored on turnaround jumpers and spin moves to the basket over the 6-foot-11 sophomore Fajardo. The former two-time MVP finished with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
Petron will now await the result of the Air21-Rain or Shine match to determine their fate in the playoffs. If Rain or Shine wins over Air21, Petron will get the third seed and battle in a best-of-3 series against the sixth seed. And if Air21 pulls an upset, Petron and Rain or Shine will engage in a playoff for the second seed and the twice-to-beat advantage.
Petron (96): Fajardo 19, Ross 18, Santos 17, Cabagnot 14, Lutz 12, Kramer 6, Duncil 4, Tubid 2, Taha 2, Lanete 2.
Meralco (87): David 18, Ildefonso 17, Dillinger 16, Wilson 13, Hodge 13, Allado 5, Hugnatan 3, Artadi 2, Timberlake 0, Salvacion 0, Al Hussaini 0.
Quarters: 15-15, 44-33, 70-56, 96-87 - Rappler.com