MERALCO toppled another giant in last year’s champion Petron Blaze, 113-112, on Sunday to end its PBA season on a high note at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After downing Commissioner’s Cup champion B-Meg last Friday, the eliminated Bolts again played with great resolve against the Boosters to produce their second straight upset of the season-ending tournament.
“Our character was best exemplified in games like this,” Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio said. “We were able to win against the big dogs in the league. Somehow we found our edge.”
Mario West played without rest and unloaded 41 points, including the game-winning layup that negated the Boosters’ furious fourth-quarter rally.
The former NBA player also added eight rebounds and four assists to lead the Bolts in bowing out of the Governors’ Cup with a 6-8 win-loss record.
Alex Cabagnot, among the league’s best clutch players, capped the Boosters’ comeback with a gutsy triple that gave his squad the momentary lead at 112-111 with 5.7 seconds remaining.
After calling a timeout, the Bolts turned to West, who went to his right and evaded three Petron defenders to come up with the game-winner with 1.6 seconds left.
“We ended with a loud bang,” Gregorio said. “There were anxious moments, but we were so blessed that ‘Super Mario’ made the shot.”
Cabagnot fired 29 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds to lead the Boosters, who dropped their fourth straight game and also ended their campaign with a 6-8 record.
Trailing, 88-79, at the end of the third, the Boosters mounted a run in the fourth led by Cabagnot and Chris Lutz, who combined for 21 points in the payoff period.
MERALCO 113 - West 41, Cardona 26, Mercado 19, Ross 10, Taulava 10, Macapagal 5, Reyes 2, Timberlake 0.
PETRON 112 - Cabagnot 29, Lutz 22, Santos 16, Faison 15, Washington 11, Pena 6, Yeo 5, Hontiveros 4, Baclao 2, Duncil 2, Lanete 0.
Quarterscores: 29-24; 56-46; 88-79; 113-112.