MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts stayed composed in the final period to hold off the GlobalPort Batang Pier, 82-70, and secured a twice-to-beat advantage heading into the quarterfinals on Tuesday, December 9 at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay.
Meralco will face Purefoods on Thursday, December 11 in phase one of the Philippine Cup quarterfinals.
This is only the second time in the franchise’s history that it will hold a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals. The first was in the 2013 Governors’ Cup per PBA Statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
Meralco head coach Norman Black was happy to get the twice-to-beat edge especially because they will be up against the reigning champs Purefoods.
“Well, the twice-to-beat advantage is really good for us because we’re facing Purefoods, and we really need any advantage we can get when facing them.”
Black also praised his team’s effort on the defensive end.
“We played much better defense tonight which im happy about. Our offense is still not clicking,” said the multi-titled coach before praising some of his wards. “I thought Mike Cortez played really much better tonight for us. Cliff Hodge stepped up and Sean Anthony also,” he added.
Hodge was named player of the game with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. One of those blocks came late in the game where he stopped Terrence Romeo’s attempt for a quick two that could have cut Meralco’s lead to just 6 points with 1:11 left to play.
Sean Anthony top scored for the Bolts with 16 while shooting guards Gary David and John Wilson added 10 apiece.
The game was witness to a rare incident when one of the referees had to be replaced. At the 3:25 mark of the 4th quarter, a game official slipped and sprained his ankle prompting the PBA to switch referees.
Stanley Pringle led the way for the BatangPier with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists. However, it was only him and Alex Cabagnot (18) who finished in double figures for GlobalPort who has the unenviable task of taking on Barangay Ginebra in the quarterfinals.
Ginebra owns the twice-to-beat advantage in their match-up against GlobalPort scheduled on Friday, December 12 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
MERALCO (82) – Anthony 16, Hodge 15, Wilson 13, David 13, Cortez 10, Dillinger 8, Hugnatan 4, Buenafe 3, Ferriols 0, Ildefonso 0, Sena 0, Craam 0, Guevarra 0, Macapagal 0.
GLOBALPORT (70) – Pringle 19, Cabagnot 18, Romeo 9, Caperal 6, Jensen 6, Buenafe 5, Taha 3, Semerad 2, Isip 2, Pinto 0, Ponferada 0, Baclao 0, De Ocampo 0.
Quarterscores: 17-15, 35-32, 58-56, 82-70
– With reports from Jane Bracher and Rodneil Quiteles/Rappler
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