PETRON Blaze stepped on the gas in the second half behind the timely baskets of Arwind Santos, Marcio Lassiter and big man June Mar Fajardo to beat fighting Meralco side, 77-73, and remain perfect in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday.
Alex Cabagnot banged in 17 points while Marcio Lassiter added 16 and Arwind Santos 14 in a road game at the Dipolog Sports Complex in Dipolog City that saw the Boosters make the decisive move without star big man June Mar Fajardo on the floor.
With Petron stymied by a zone defense in the first half, coach Gee Abanilla took the gamble of taking out Fajardo and turning to a three-guard roster of Cabagnot, Lassiter, and Chris Ross to go with Santos and agile big man Doug Kramer.
The gambit worked in the second half as the Boosters pulled away from a tight 48-50 to open a 73-57 bubble.
Meralco fought back valiantly behind the heads-up plays of John Wilson and hobbled forward Reynel Hugnatan but ran out of time, allowing the Boosters to escape with their seventh straight win this season.
The 6-10 Fajardo wasn’t able to do much damage inside offensively, finishing with a quiet 12 points. But he remained menacing on defense after finishing with 19 rebounds and three blocks to earn the Best Player of the Game honors.
Meralco, which is coming off an emotional 72-64 come-from-behind win against San Mig Super Coffee last Wednesday, dropped to 3-4.
Wilson and Gary David led the Bolts with 16 points apiece while Hugnatan and Rabeh Al-Hussaini each scored 13 markers.