BARAKO Bull bucked a sluggish start to frustrate Meralco, 105-99, and sustain its sizzling start in the PBA Governors Cup on Sunday at The Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Energy climbed out of an early 19-point deficit thanks to a rejuvenated second-half effort to pull off the stunning turnaround that kept them unbeaten after four games.
“We were outhustled early, but our guys didn’t give up,” Energy coach Koy Banal said.
Joseph Yeo showed the way with 28 points off the bench for the league-leading Energy, who matched their best start in franchise history, last achieved in the 2007 Fiesta Conference when the team was still carrying the Air21 banner.
Barako, which handed the Bolts their third loss in five games, started to turn the game around in the third quarter, where they outscored the Bolts, 34-21, to take a two-point lead entering the fourth quarter after trailing by 11 at the half.
The Energy did that behind an all-Filipino lineup led by Yeo, RR Garcia, and Justin Chua when import Liam McMorrow rode the bench due to foul trouble.
The 7-foot-2 American slotman still ended up with 23 rebounds and 19 points as he made all but one of his seven shots in 26 minutes.
Yeo, acquired in an offseason trade with Ginebra, spearheaded the Energy’s final push with 11 points in the payoff period, including two from the charity stripe that gave the Energy the lead for good at 93-91 with a little over five minutes to go.
Meralco’s recent acquisition, Kelly Nabong, acquired in a three-team deal a few days ago, contributed two points and one rebound before fouling out after just seven minutes of action.
Andre Emmett scattered 32 points, while Cliff Hodge added 17, including eight in the final frame to lead the Bolts’ last-gasp attack that fell short.
BARAKO 105 – Yeo 28, McMorrow 19, Garcia 14, Pascual 12, Chua 12, Lanete 8, Intal 5, Wilson 3, Lastimosa 2, Ababou 2, Hubalde 0, Maierhofer 0
MERALCO 99 – Emmett 32, Hodge 17, Cortez 9, David 9, Ando 8, Anthony 7, Guevarra 7, Ferriols 4, Dillinger 2, Nabong 2, Ildefonso 2, Sena 0
Quarterscores: 18-33, 41-52, 75-73, 105-99