Meralco proved to be the steadier team down the stretch as it handed crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra San Miguel a 91-79 beating in their pre-season match in the PBA Liga ng Bayan last Sunday in Panabo Sports Complex in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.
Ace shooting guard John Wilson, who played for Ginebra during his first two years in the pro league, scored 18 points including five of the team’s last 11 points as the Bolts handed the Kings another defeat.
Meralco has shown improvement as it prepares for the league’s 40th season while Ginebra picked up its fifth loss in six matches in the pre-season.
Ginebra rested several players, including 7-foot sophomore center Greg Slaughter, who had a mild sprained ankle (right) as well as Gilas Pilipinas players LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar.
Meralco also played sans national team members Gary David and Jared Dillinger.
The game was actually tied at 66-all early in the fourth quarter before Meralco scored seven straight points — a jumper by Anjo Caram, a three-point play by Rey Guevara, and a lay-up by Ryan Buenafe as the Bolts grabbed a 73-66 advantage.
Ginebra’s new recruit Joseph Yeo and Jayjay Helterbrand Answered with a basket each before Billy Mamaril completed his three-point play to again level the match at 73-all with seven minutes to play.
Caram’s jumpshot, though, sparked a 15-6 run with Wilson scoring the last five points to take an 87-79 lead with 2:14 left in the game. Ginebra’s JR Reyes was given a technical for his second motion on Sean Anthony.
Meralco guard Simon Atkins made the technical free throw and later added a triple for the final score. Reynel Hugnatan added 15 points, while Cliff Hodge and Guevara contributed 13 and 11 points, respectively.