EMAN Monfort, the smallest player on the court, stood tallest as Barako Bull survived Meralco, 90-89, on Sunday to barge into the win column of the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The 5-foot-6 rookie playmaker atoned for his lapse against Talk ‘N Text as he capped his career offensive game with the marginal basket that enabled the Energy Cola to tie their victims with a 1-1 win-loss card.
Monfort, an Ateneo product, finished with career-highs of 22 points (8-of-10 shooting) and seven boards that went with two assists as he formed a deadly combination with import Mike Singletary, who had 28 points and 14 boards.
Energy Cola coach Rajko Toroman, though, gave most of the credit to veteran big man Dorian Peña, who bucked an injury on his shooting hand to provide the needed energy for the team, which was coming off a 113-118 overtime loss to the Tropang Texters.
“The hero of this game is Dorian,” the Serbian mentor said. “He made us tougher defensively. Even if he can’t score, he made some great passes.”
Peña didn’t attempt a single shot and missed his two charities, but grabbed seven rebounds and dished two assists in 17 minutes of play.
Import Mario West led the Bolts with 33 points and nine boards, but muffed two late identical fallaway jumpers in separate possessions that could’ve regained for them the lead.
After Monfort’s jumper made it 90-87 for Barako, West retaliated with a short-range basket that cut the lead to just one.
Barako Bull 90 - Singletary 28, Monfort 22, Seigle 12, Buenafe 7, Jensen 6, Pennisi 5, Intal 4, Marcelo 2, Macapagal 2, Cruz 2, Weinstein 0, Yap 0, Pena 0.
Meralco 89 - West 33, Hugnatan 16, Salvacion 12, Wilson 9, Hodge 4, Guevarra 4, Ross 4, Allado 4, Vanlandingham 3, Mangahas 0.
Quarters: 22-21, 41-49, 66-67, 90-89