Shackling Gary David’s production may be a tall order -- but not for an import so used to defending NBA players.
Import Mario West held David to just two fourth-quarter points as Meralco beat Powerade, 91-78, on Sunday to boost its chances of making the next round in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
West shone offensively with 29 points, but it was his defense on David down the stretch that mattered more for the Bolts, who moved to the .500 mark with their fourth win against four losses.
David still finished with 20 markers, but his production took a big dip in the stretch that mattered most.
“I told West he was up against the best offensive local in the league,” Bolts coach Ryan Gregorio said. “So he took so much pride defending Gary.
“We knew all along that if we really wanted to beat Powerade, it’s because of our lockdown defensive mentality.”
West was fortunate enough to play in the game. The NBA veteran escaped a ban after going to the Air21 dugout on Friday to seek out Ogie Menor, who had tagged him with a hard foul during the game.
Scoreless in the first three quarters, Sol Mercado pumped in 15 points in the payoff period, where the Bolts outscored the Tigers, 23-12.
“Sol played magnificent ball in the fourth,” Gregorio said. “I told him to be patient as the defense will eventually loosen up.”
Meralco’s win also derailed the Tigers’ entry into the semifinals as the latter dropped their second straight game for a 4-4 slate overall.
Powerade import Omar Sneed led his team with 23 points and 17 rebounds.
Meralco still needs one more win to make the semifinals.
“The goal is not yet achieved,” Gregorio said. “We still need to play good basketball in our next game.”
MERALCO 91 - West 29, Mercado 15, Cardona 15, Hugnatan 14, Taulava 7, Bulawan 6, Macapagal 3, Ross 2, Reyes 0
POWERADE 78 - Sneed 23, David 20, Guevarra 12, Casio 6, Al-Hussaini 4, Belasco 4, Anthony 3, Lingganay 2, Salvador 2, Adducul 2, Vanlandingham 0, Tugade 0
Quarter scores: 21-24, 43-42, 68-66, 91-78