MARIO West went on a second-half tear as Meralco cut down San Miguel Beer, 90-74, on Saturday to revive its playoff hopes in the PBA Governors Cup at the Xavier gym in Cagayan de Oro City.
Simply unstoppable in the isolation, West was at his best in the third quarter, scoring 17 of his team’s 31 points during that pivotal stretch when the Bolts seized control, 71-53.
“It's just survival instincts, it's all we're fighting for at this point,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
The Beermen rallied to within 69-77 on June Mar Fajardo’s split from the free-throw line but West again went on attack mode, scoring or assisting in the Bolts’ last eight points to complete the reversal.
The 6-3 West, who is coming off a PBA conference-low 16 points in the team’s 67-80 loss to Air21, ended the game with 41 points to go with 14 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
More importantly, the Bolts improved to 2-5 with two games left in their eliminations schedule to revive their hopes for a place in the playoffs.
“We will not retreat and we will not surrender. This (win) I think averted an outright elimination for us. We just gotta keep on fighting,” Gregorio added.
On the other hand, the Beermen, who continued to miss the services of Marcio Lassiter (cut on his right shin), Chris Ross (right calf strain) and Paolo Hubalde (right shoulder), lost for the second time in three games to fall to fifth spot with their 4-3 record.
The 6-10 Fajardo, who currently leads the statistical race for this season’s MVP, led the Beermen with 22 points.
Import Reggie Williams added 17, while Ronald Tubid had 10 for the Beermen.
Reigning PBA MVP Arwind Santos struggled throughout and was limited to just five points before fouling out late in the game.
Meralco 90 - West 40, Hodge 12, Hugnatan 10, Guevarra 8, David 8, Dillinger 7, Cortez 2, Ballesteros 2, Ildefonso 1, Caram 0, bringas 0.
San Miguel 74 - Fajardo 22, Williams 17, Tubid 10, Mercado 8, Kramer 6, Santos 5, Lanete 4, Chua 2, Lutz 0, Maierhofer 0, Duncil 0.
Quarterscores: 26-18 40-41 71-55 90-74