The Meralco Bolts dealt the reigning champions Barangay Ginebra Kings a crucial blow with a 79-66 rout in the PBA Philippine Cup on Thursday afternoon at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The loss dropped Ginebra to 4-7,and into a tie with both Terrafirma and Phoenix. The Kings need the NorthPort Batang Pier to win against the Alaska Aces in the second game on Friday to give them another shot at making it to the quarterfinal round.
Meralco was on point for most of the game as they raced off to a 19-point advantage in the first half, 47-28, before the Kings tried to rally in the third, and brought the lead down to just four, 51-55, heading to the last quarter. However, Meralco kept their composure and pulled away in the fourth canto to pick up the win and end the elimination round with a 9-2 card.
Rookie Alvin Pasaol and veteran forward Mac Belo had 15 points each to lead the Bolts in scoring. Chris Newsome, back in action after missing most of the last game because of an ejection, added 10 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
Stanley Pringle led Ginebra with 19 points but the Kings just could not overcome the absences of top guns Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar, both of whom are recovering from injuries.
MERALCO 79 – Pasaol 15, Belo 15, Newsome 10, Quinto 8, Maliksi 7, Jamito 7, Almazan 6, Caram 4, Hodge 3, Pinto 2, Baclao 2, Jackson 0
GINEBRA 66 – Pringle 19, Standhardinger 17, Tenorio 11, Chan 7, Mariano 6, Devance 4, Dillinger 2, Caperal 0, Enriquez 0, Holmqvist 0
Quarters : 23-15, 47-32, 55-51, 79-66 (JNP)