MARIO West sparked Meralco’s blazing fourth-quarter rampage as it dealt sister team Talk ‘N Text a 92-86 defeat to halt a two-game skid in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-5 West, now in his second tour of duty in the league, mocked the defense thrown at him by pouring in 17 of his career-high 47 points in the final period to lead the Bolts back from a 13-point second-half deficit.
West’s 17th point of the final period came off a dazzling spin move over top Talk ‘N Text defender Ryan Reyes, who was caught looking the other way as Meralco went ahead for good, 89-86 with under two minutes to play.
Overall, though, Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio credited the team’s defense for the victory after it held Talk ‘N Text scoreless in the final two minutes to pull the Bolts to an even 2-2 record.
“The best way to compete against a star-studded team is really to focus on defense,” said Gregorio.
“I thought that (defense) was our only chance. (Assistant) coach Jong (Uichico) was so active on our defensive end and he did a tremendous job preparing our team.”
Gilas players Jason Castro, Larry Fonacier and Ranidel de Ocampo finally played after taking a two-week off since playing in the Fiba-Asia men’s championship early this month.
The cat-quick Castro scored 18 points to support import Tony Mitchell’s 32, but that did not prevent Talk ‘N Text from dropping its second straight match to go down to 1-2 in the standings.
Meralco 92 - West 47, Hodge 18, Guevarra 12, Hugnatan 6, Vanlandingham 3, Wilson 2, Timberlake 2, Allado 2, Ross 0, Reyes 0, Salvacion 0.
Talk N' Text 86 - Mitchell 32, Castro 18, Al-Hussaini 11, Fonacier 11, Anthony 6, Reyes R. 4, De Ocampo 2, Reyes J. 0, Aban 0, Carey 0.
Quarters: 26-16, 37-47, 62-67, 92-86