JUST a day after being sounded off by his coach for his poor play, Marmac Cardona came alive with a season-high 30 points to lead Meralco to a 103-92 victory over woeful Globlaport on Wednesday night in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cardona, who had averaged 2.5 points in the Bolts' last two games - both of them losses, fired 15 points in the first half alone to set the tone for the coast-to-coast victory that improved Meralco's record to 5-5 (win-loss), good for a share of fourth place.
“People were expecting Macmac will get a tongue-lashing, but that’s the opposite. It’s the best opportunity to step in and help him,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio of his enigmatic guard.
“I just told him to play basketball, have so much fun and things will fall into their proper place."
Import Eric Dawson also had a big game, finishing with 37 points as Meralco sent cellar-dwelling Globlaport reeling to its eighth straight loss and to a 2-9 record.
"That’s what’s obvious in our team. Our import is really good. But in spite of his talent and greatness, he can’t do it by his lonesome. He’s got a Mac Cardona who did a great job tonight,” Gregorio said.
The game was physical throughout and Globalport coach Junel Baculi engaged Dawson in a verbal tussle near the tunnel leading to the dugout. Cooler heads immediately whisked the 6'10" Dawson away.
"I told him (Dawson) you’ve been a very, very good example to your fellow basketbabll players and also your teammates and viewing public. A lot of imports now are self-destructing. I hope you won’t be part of that statistic," said Gregorio, who was among those who approached Dawson to restrain him.
Gary David and import Sylvester Morgan scored 29 and 22 points, respectively for the Batang Pier.
Backup playmaker Chris Timberlake filled in for the injured Chris Ross, scoring 10 points, adding five rebounds and issuing four assists for the Bolts.
Meralco 103 - Dawson 37, Cardona 30, Hodge 11, Timberlake 10, Salvacion 5, Reyes 4, Hugnatan 4, Vanlandingham 2, Ross 0, Buenafe 0
Globalport 92 - David 29, Morgan 22, Mercado 11, Yee 10, Miller 7, Aguilar 5, Mandani 4, Salvador 2, Antonio 2, Belencion 0, Aljamal 0
Quarterscores: 21-19, 48-41, 71-65, 103-92