Llamados win first game in MOA Arena

(Smart-Araneta Coliseum)
3:30 – Rain or Shine vs. Meralco
5:30 – Tribute to Sonny Jaworksi
6:30 – Petron Blaze vs. Brgy. Ginebra
Under the bright lights of the state-of-the-art Mall of Asia Arena, B-Meg import Marqus Blakely proved to be a sight to behold.

With do-it-all Blakely dominating with a 20-20 output, the Llamados overcame a sluggish start to grind out a 94-91 victory over Talk ‘N Text Saturday night as the PBA Governors Cup semifinals action brought its act to the celebrated Pasay City venue.

Playing with reckless abandon, Blakely pumped in 18 of his game-high 26 points in the second half and hauled down 20 rebounds to lead four other Llamados with 10 markers each as B-Meg improved its record to 7-3, a full-game adrift of idle Rain or Shine (8-2) in the carryover semis format.

“I just have to step up my game a little more,” noted Blakely, who also had three blocks to spike his all-round game highlighted by numerous acrobatic lay-ups. “We really step up as a team. We fought hard through the adversity of missing James.”

Josh Urbiztondo collected 14 points while the “Sampayan Brigade”–Marc Pingris, Rafi Reavis and Yancy de Ocampo–combined for 34 markers to help the banged-up Llamados completely turned the tables around in the second half using their height and heft to the hilt.

Paul Harris paced Talk ‘N Text with 24 points while the backcourt duo of Jimmy Alapag and Jason Castro produced 17 and 15, respectively, but those ended up insufficient for the Tropang Texters, who dropped to 5-5, its finals hopes in peril.

James Yap, the Llamados’ top offensive weapon, missed majority part of the game with back spasms and forced to watch from the sidelines along with injured teammates Joe DeVance and JC Intal but the remaining Llamados readily rose up to the challenge.

With Harris, Alapag and Castro making most of the damage, the Tropang Texters displayed their full form in the second quarter, breaking away from a 31-all deadlock with a sizzling 18-8 surge that gave them a 49-39 spread at the break.

Asserting a deliberate pace with its triangle offense, B-Meg, led by Blakely and Urbiztondo, uncorked a 14-5 start in the third canto before de Ocampo took full control of the paint against the baffled TNT frontline, scoring seven markers that forged a 67-all count into the fourth.

Then Blakely, making his presence felt on both ends, took over for the Llamados.

From a 77-all count with eight minutes remaining, B-Meg unleashed a decisive 13-7 charge, with Blakely scattering seven laced by a trey–his second in the quarter– to gain a 90-84 spread.
The Texters, however, scored four of the next five points before Reavis, getting a nifty pass from Pingris, made a point-blank conversion that pushed the Llamados’ lead to 93-88 time down to 56.5 seconds.

Blakely then forced Castro to turn the ball over in the other end before Urbiztondo, fouled by Ryan Reyes, split his charities for a 94-88 with 40.2 ticks left.

Not giving up, Larry Fonacier drained a corner trey off Castro’s kickout pass for a 91-94 deficit then Alapag hounded Barroca, who ran out of space in the sidelines, giving the ball back to the Texters with 24.3 left.

But Ranidel de Ocampo, hotly chased by Blakely, fired an air-ball and Barroca collared the rebound.
With 2.3 ticks left, PJ Simon, who struggled for eight points, muffed his free throws but the leather went outside off Ranidel de Ocampo’s head, virtually wrapping the game for the Llamados eighth-tenths of a second remaining.
The scores:
B-MEG 94 - Blakely 26, Urbiztondo 14, Pingris 12, Reavis 12, De Ocampo 10, Simon 8, Barroca 7, Villanueva 5, Yap 0.
TALK N' TEXT 91 - Harris 24, Alapag 17, Castro 15, Williams 13, Fonacier 9, Aguilar 8, De Ocampo 3, Reyes 2, Aban 0, Lao 0, Peek 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 39-49, 67-67, 94-91