Home Sports Bolts enhance playoff bid with nipping of Dyip

Bolts enhance playoff bid with nipping of Dyip


Meralco Bolts' Bong Quinto PBA Philippine Cup

Meralco Bolts’ Bong Quinto in the PBA Philippine Cup. -PBA IMAGES

Bong Quinto is glad to put Meralco in a comfortable situation halfway into their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup campaign.

“If we had lost, I don’t know how we would approach our next games,” Quinto said in Filipino after the Bolts pulled out an 86-83 win over the Terrafirma Dyip on Wednesday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The victory, fashioned out after trailing for most of the first half and behind by a high of 11 in the third, allowed Meralco to go 3-3 in the all-Filipino tournament, tying Terrafirma for sixth in the standings.

A defeat would have sent the Bolts to ninth place, possibly in a tie with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, who at press time were playing the winless Converge FiberXers.Meralco’s remaining games in the eliminations will be against TNT on Sunday at Ninoy Aquino Stadium. The Bolts then take a two-week break before playing Converge on April 21 at PhilSports Arena in Pasig City.

Meralco’s other games are against Phoenix on April 26, Magnolia on April 28 and San Miguel Beer on May 4, completing a slate that has a mixture of struggling opponents and perennial contenders.

To get a favorable record in that stretch, Quinto and Meralco hope to heed what coach Luigi Trillo and consultant Nenad Vucinic want to execute.

And the team showed some glimpses of that plan against Terrafirma, with Quinto hitting 18 points, including crucial shots highlighted by a three-pointer that put Meralco ahead, 82-81, with two minutes to go.

Norbert Torres was also effective in his role as a stretch four (a power forward who can hit from the outside), draining two threes in the fourth, while Cliff Hodge once again showed his all-around hustle that rewarded him with a first All-Star appearance more than a week ago in Bacolod City.

“During our practices, everyone can be a Best Player of the Game,” said Quinto, who had gotten the distinction in two of Meralco’s three wins. “It just turned out that we struggled offensively in this game.

“Actually all of us had the same roles and we eventually got our rhythm, especially on defense,” he added.

Terrafirma blew a chance to go 4-2 in the tournament that would match its best win total in a conference under coach Johnedel Cardel, who has been calling the shots since the 2018 Governors’ Cup.

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But the loss put the Dyip in a situation where they must sustain the gains of the previous five games prior, with Barangay Ginebra and the San Miguel Beermen next on Sunday and April 10, both at Ninoy Aquino Stadium.

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