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PBA: West stars for Meralco


by Waylon Galvez

Games Today (Alonte Sports Arena, Binan, Laguna)
3 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Globalport
5:15 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs Barangay Ginebra

Game Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 p.m. – Air21 vs San Mig Super Coffee

Manila, Philippines – Meralco import Mario West exploded for 42 points as he powered the Bolts to a 90-74 victory over San Miguel Beer to improve their bid for a playoff spot in the season-ending PLDT Home Telpad PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Xavier School in Cagayan de Oro City.

West, a former NBA player on his fourth stint with Meralco as a replacement to the ineffective Terrence Williams, also added 14 rebound and three assists as the Bolts improved to 2-5.

Coming into the game, the 29-year-old West averaged just 22.6 points and 11.6 rebounds but did a little more since the Bolts were facing elimination.

“It’s just survival instinct, it’s all we’re fighting for at this point,” said Meralco mentor Ryan Gregorio. “For us, we will not retreat and we will not surrender. This I think averted an outright elimination for us.”

“We just go to keep on fighting,” added Gregorio, whose team’s last two outings are against Rain or Shine on Tuesday and Globalport on Saturday.

San Miguel Beer dropped to 4-3.

Meanwhile, action resumes today with a double-header at the Alonte Sports Arena in Binan, Laguna.

Coming off a 51-point win (123-72) against Alaska last Wednesday, the Elasto Painters will face the Barangay Ginebra Kings at 5:15 p.m., right after the 3 p.m. game between Barako Bull and Globalport.

The win of Rain or Shine was the most lopsided in the pro league in 28 years, or since the now-defunct Shell downed Tanduay Rhum, 154-100, during the PBA’s 1986 Season.

The 51-point victory of the Elasto Painters was the fourth most in PBA history, behind Utex when it won by 55 points against Great Taste (154-99) in 1980, and Utex’s 54-point triumph opposite Fiberlite (170-116) in the league’s inaugural year in 1976.

Prior to that, the previous lopsided victory by Rain or Shine as a franchise was a 139-95 win against Meralco in the 2011 Philippine Cup, and coach Yeng Guiao is hoping they can carry the momentum.

“It’s definitely a big win for us,” said Guiao.