Jai Reyes the unlikely hero as Meralco wakes up just in time to turn back KIA Motors
Jai Reyes combined with Gary David in a late run that sealed the deal for Meralco. Jerome Ascano

IMPORT Josh Davis and Gary David roused injury-plagued Meralco from stupor in the nick of time to tow the Bolts to a come-from-behind 90-80 victory over KIA Motors in their PBA Commissioner’s Cup match on Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.

After a quiet first half that saw him score just five points, the 6-foot-7 Davis teamed up with David in a third-quarter onslaught that helped Meralco erase an 11-point deficit and ease into a 61-48 lead.

KIA’s mammoth import Peter John Ramos willed his team back to within 68-69 midway through the fourth period, but David and back-up playmaker Jai Reyes combined for nine points in a vicious 11-3 tear in a three-minute stretch to seal the Bolts' second win in as many games in the midseason conference.

Meralco opened the tournament with an 85-74 win over fancied Barangay Ginebra squad on Tuesday.

The Carnival, on the other hand, fell to 0-2 (win-loss) as they continue to play without playing-coach Manny Pacquiao, who had to call off his plan to join the team in the game after his flight out of Miami was cancelled because of snowstorms that have hit the US.

The winless side was also without top local Reil Cervantes.

The Bolts played without injured guards Jared Dillinger (right knee strain) and Mike Cortez, who was a late scratch due to a swollen right knee.

In fact, it was the injury to Cortez that led to the prolonged exposure of Reyes, who responded by scoring a career-high 16 points to go with four rebounds and four assists in 33 minutes off the bench for coach Norman Black.

He was also named Best Player of the Game.

"I thought Jai Reyes did a good job of orchestrating the offense in the absence of Mike Cortez," said Black, who activated the former Ateneo guard just before the game against Ginebra.

“I’m very happy for the guys today like Cliff Hodge because his energy got us over the top of our defense in the second half, while Gary David once again, very consistent in scoring,” Black added.

David, a two-time PBA scoring champion, led the Bolts with 25 points, including four triples. Davis added 19, 11 boards and seven steals.

Ramos led the Carnival with 34 points and 21 rebounds.

The scores:
Meralco 90 - David 25, Davis 19, Reyes 16, Anthony 6, Ildefonso 6, Hugnatan 6, Hodge 4, Wilson 4, Ferriols 4, Atkins 0, Cortez 0, Buenafe 0, Sena 0. 
KIA Motors 80 - Ramos 34, Buensuceso 11, Poligrates 6, Webb 6, Cawaling 5, Yee 5, Pascual 4, Ighalo 4, Revilla 3, Burtscher 2, Thiele 0, Padilla 0.
Quarterscores: 12-18, 36-38, 62-56, 90-80

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