by Waylon Galvez
Games Wednesday (Mall of Asia Arena)
5:45 p.m. – Air21 vs Globalport
8 p.m. – Ginebra vs Petron
Manila, Philippines – Barako Bull rediscovered its winning form in time for the traditional big Christmas celebration by beating Meralco, 99-86, to snap a six-game losing run in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Denok Miranda scored 17 points to lead six other players in double figures as the Energy Cola revived their bid for a playoff berth by tying their victim and idle Alaska for seventh spot at 3-6.
Miranda, who was traded twice in the offseason, also had three rebounds and five assists to power Barako to its first win since downing Alaska, 97-93, last Nov. 24.
Eager to end the long dry spell, coach Bong Ramos used a picture of the symbolic stone and mattock located outside the practice facility of the San Antonio Spurs as a motivation.
“When you go to the facility of the Spurs, when you enter that, there’s a big rock and a stone cutter (mattock). It’s like we are trying to keep on pounding the rock (with the losses), kasi kung titignan mo games namin close lahat,” said Ramos.
“Ang hinihintay ko is hanggang kelan pipilitin ng mga players na ipu-push ang sarili nila even with the losses. But I told them, on the 100 times ayaw ma-break, sa pang 101 bibigay din yung baton na yan. Eto nga bumigay na,” added Ramos.
Barako shot 17 triples in its last victory. Almost a month later, the Energy Cola found their rhythm from long range by hitting 14 threes.
Intal joined forces with Miranda and Maierhofer to turn a slim 24-19 first quarter lead into a 50-39 bubble at halftime.
The Energy Cola took control from there and even established an 18-point lead (84-66) on a jumper by Pennisi with 9:36 left in the game.
“We’re able to execute very well, kaya na-control namin ang laro. Ito mga players, talagang they’re pushing themselves to the limit. Minsan kasi may tendency (players) na mag-sawa na dahil sa mga talo. But not these guys,” said Ramos, who was fined P30,000 for criticizing the officiating during the team’s 90-88 loss to the San Mig Coffee.
After that, they forced Talk ’N Text into overtime before bowing, 87-80.
Meralco suffered its third straight defeat after shooting just 35% (26-of-74) from the field.
Gary David and Mike Cortez led the Bolts with 20 points each.
In the second game, defending three-time champion Talk ’N Text defeated Air21, 87-82, to extend its winning streak to three games.
Jayson Castro scored 21 points while Larry Fonacier had 13 and 10 rebounds as the Tropang Texters improved to 6-2 for solo third.
BARAKO 99 – Miranda 17, Miller 14, Pennisi 14, Macapagal 11, Intal 11, Maierhofer 10, Pena 10, Lastimosa 4, Jensen 3, Buenafe 3, Wilson 2, Marcelo 0.
MERALCO 86 – David 20, Cortez 20, Al-Hussaini 19, Wilson 14, Hugnatan 5, Dillinger 4, Omolon 2, Guevarra 1, Hodge 1, Timberlake 0, Sena 0.
Quarters: 24-19, 50-39, 78-63, 99-86
TALK N’ TEXT 87 – Castro 21, De Ocampo 18, Reyes 15, Fonacier 13, Carey 6, Seigle 5, Aban 5, Baclao 4, Williams 0, Anthony 0, Poligrates 0.
AIR21 82 – Taulava 23, Yeo 13, Canaleta 13, Camson 8, Cardona 8, Manuel 6, Custodio 4, Jaime 3, Sharma 2, Matias 1, Burstcher 1, Arboleda 0, Ritualo 0.
Quarters: 20-18, 48-37, 67-57, 87-82