July 18, 2021 Armando Carandang 142 views

Games Wednesday

(Ynares Arena, Pasig City)

12:30 p.m. – Terrafirma vs. Alaska

3 p.m. – Phoenix vs. NorthPort

6 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs. Magnolia

FOR Meralco, playing powerhouse team like San Miguel Beer this early is much better than meeting it later in the PBA Philippine Cup.

It’s obvious everybody is still trying to regain strength after a more than six months of hiatus, and good for the Bolts, they caught the Beermen in that situation when the many-time champions are still trying to find their rhythm.

“Happy that we played them (Beermen) early, as you know that once they get in shape and start rolling, it will be very difficult to stop them,” said Meralco coach Norman Black minutes after his Bolts defeated the Beermen, 93-87, Sunday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.

Four Bolts, namely, Chris Newsome, Aaron Black, Reynel Hugnatan and Nard Pinto, alternated on offense as they put one over on the many-time All-Filipino Champions for a headstart in the conference.

“We’re very happy with every win, and in this point of the season we don’t want to be left behind because we don’t want to catch up double time later, so we’re very very happy with the fact that we’re starting off 2-0,” added Black, whose Bolts also drubbed NorthPort, 85-63, on opening day last Friday.

The Bolts actually played an SMB team fully backstopped by its top gunners and marquee players in returning Terrence, June Mar Fajardo, Mo Tautuaa, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot and CJ Perez.

But the Bolts tenaciously fought the Beermen after a tentative start, matching the latter on both ends before catching fire in the third quarter.

“We got off to a low start and San Miguel played aggressively in the first quarter. We settled in the first quarter, then we started playing our game in the second quarter,” stressed Black.

Black however was quick to issue some cautions on his charges, saying they could not afford to be carried off by the big win over San Miguel.

“We have big game ahead against Talk ‘N Text, so we’ll put behind this win over San Miguel,” said Black.

It was not a total letdown for the Beermen in the game, as they were in the thick of fightback in the fourth period when Romeo, who orchestrated that comeback, hurt his leg early in the fourth.

The fleet-footed playmaker, who missed the bubble tournament last year because of shoulder injury, appeared to have twisted his leg off a crossover, with the Beermen trailing at 79-71, a good 8:31 minutes remaining.

Romeo was showing the way for the Beermen with 18 points on 9-of-18 shooting from the field when he went down with the injury.

Meanwhile, Arwind Santos achieved a milestone of sort in his professional career as he raised his total rebounds to 4,000, become only the 7th player in PBA history to reach that number and the only one among active players right now.

He joined the elite circle composed of 1) Ramon Fernandez (6,435); 2)

Albert Guidaben (6,197), 3) Jerry Codiñera (4,623), 4) Alvin Patrimonio (4,446), 5) Philip Cezar (4,208), 6) Asi Taulava (4,203).

The scores:

Meralco (93) — Newsome 17, Black 14, Hugnatan 13, Nard Pinto 11, Quinto 9, Mac Belo 7, Maliksi 7, Pasaol 7, Hodge 4, Almazan 4, Jackson 0, Jose 0, Canete 0, Caram 0, Jamito 0.

San Miguel (87) – Romeo 18, Tautuaa 17, Perez 17, Lassiter 11, Santos 8, Ross 5, Fajardo 5, Cabagnot 4, Gotladera 2, Pessumal 0, Zamar 0, Comboy 0, Gamalinda 0, Sena 0.

Quarterscores: 18-25, 42-41, 74-59, 93-87.