MERALCO clinched an all-important twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Philippine Cup playoffs following an 82-70 win over GlobalPort on Tuesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Bolts finished in a three-way tie with Ginebra and Purefoods at 6-5 (win-loss) but clinched the No. 6 seeding - and the final twice-to-beat edge - when the quotient system came into play.
The Meralco win also averted a quarterfinal showdown between No. 5 seed Ginebra and Purefoods, which the Bolts will now face in the quarterfinals beginning on Thursday, also at the Astrodome.
“The twice to beat advantage is really good for us because we are facing Purefoods. We need to get any advantage against the defending champions,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
The match was tight for most of the way until the Bolts went on a scoring binge late in the final quarter behind John wilson, Gary David and cliff Hodge.
Sean Anthony led the way for the Bolts with 16 points. Hodge added 15 points and eight rebounds, Wilson and Gary David had 13 each while Mike Cortez added 10.
“Sean stepped up and played very, very well for us. I just feel that this time of year, we have to focus on our foul shots. In our last three games, we have been missing,” said Black.
Meralco's win spoiled GlobalPort's bid to gain a first twice-to-beat berth in the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Instead, the seventh-seeded Batang Pier were relegated to a one-and-done series against Ginebra.
Rookie Stanley Pringle and Alex Cabagnot carried the Batang Pier with 19 and 18 points, respectively.
Meralco (82)—Anthony 16, Hodge 15, Wilson 13, David 13, Cortez 10, Dillinger 8, Hugnatan 4, Buenafe 3, Ildefonso 0, Caram 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.