MERALCO held Talk ‘N Text without a field goal in the final five minutes to hammer out a 91-83 win and grab the solo lead in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Josh Davis made up for his offensive struggle by grabbing three crucial rebounds down the stretch, while Gary David and Mike Cortez delivered the killer blows in anchoring the Bolts’ third straight win to open the conference.
The 3-0 start is actually Meralco’s best since joining Asia’s first ever play-for-pay league in 2010.
“It’s a good start for us at 3-0, considering this is a very short conference. And if you don’t get off to a good start, it will be distressing later,” said winning coach Norman Black, who also won against his former team for the first time since moving over to Meralco before the start of the season.
Black commended the Bolts for following the team’s defensive game plan to the letter, which saw them limit the Tropang Texters to just two foul shots inside the last five minutes.
“I just want to first, praise my players for executing our defensive game plan today. It’s always hard to defend Talk ‘N Text because of their offensive players, with Ranidel (De Ocampo), Jayson (Castro) and Jay Washington there,” explained Black.
David scored 17 points for the Bolts, who moved a half a game ahead of fellow unbeaten teams Barako Bull (2-0) and Purefoods (2-0) in the team standings.
Talk ‘N Text fell to 2-1.
John Wilson added 12, while Mike Cortez and Cliff Hodge chipped in 11 apiece for Meralco.
Davis, who averaged 22 points and 21.5 rebounds prior to the game, only had eight points, but came down with 17 boards.
Rich Howell led the Tropang Texters with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Meralco (91) - David 17, Wilson 12, Hodge 11, Cortez 11, Davis 8, Hugnatan 8, Anthony 6, Ferriols 6, Reyes 5, Dillinger 5, Ildefonso 2, Atkins 0, Buenafe 0, Sena 0, Macapagal 0.
Talk ‘N Text (83) - Howell 24, Castro 18, De Ocampo 11, Alas 8, Miller 7, Fonacier 6, Washington 3, Carey 3, Rosser 3, Labagala 0, Williams 0, Espiritu 0, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 28-21; 46-41; 72-65; 91-83.