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PBA: Energy zap Bolts

Hodge vs Pascual

Games Tomorrow (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:15 p.m. – Kia vs Blackwater
7 p.m. – Star vs Alaska

Manila, Philippines – League-leader Barako Bull matched the best start in franchise history in style as it rallied from a 19-point first quarter deficit for a 105-99 victory over Meralco last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Veteran Joseph Yeo came off the bench to score 28 points, his best game since being acquired in a trade with Barangay Ginebra, while youngsters Justin Chua, RR Garcia and Jake Pascual made big plays in the second half to stretch the Energy’s unblemished mark to four games.

“It’s a sign that everybody is excited about our team. I would like to give it to the players. If one guy or two are off, somebody has to step up. Today it was Joseph, RR, Justin and Jake,” said Barako Bull Coach Koy Banal.

Barako equaled the team’s 4-0 start in the 2007 Fiesta Conference when the Energy were used to be known as the original Air21 Express.

That Express team was coached by Bo Perasol and led by import Shawn Daniels, Arwind Santos and Gary David, who incidentally saw action for the Bolts yesterday.

David and Meralco were on pace to deal Barako its first loss at the start behind a 59 percent shooting in the first quarter and a 31-12 lead courtesy of import Andre Emmett’s jumper with 1:53 left.

Barako trimmed the margin to 52-41at the break before Yeo and Chua scored eight points apiece in a telling third period that saw them outscoring Meralco, 34-21.

That turnaround allowed the Energy to take a 75-73 lead into the fourth, where Garcia and Pascual took matters into their own hands to preserve the win.

A three-pointer by Garcia gave Barako a 97-91 lead with 3:44 remaining, only for Meralco to to pull within 97-96 on a three by Sean Anthony followed by a Cliff Hodge layup.

Barako countered as Canadian import Liam McMorrow scored on a tip-in before Pascual came through with a jumper to make it 101-96, 1:36 to play.

Meralco made one final push as Hodge knocked down a three to cut the deficit to 101-99. However, Garcia fed an open Pascual underneath for a 103-99 lead entering the final minute.

Yeo later sealed the final count with two free throws, capping off an impressive performance that was expected of him since being dealt from Ginebra in exchange for Sol Mercado.

“I’m so thankful that he went to us,” Banal said of Yeo, who averaged just eight points in the first three games. “When I found out that Yeo is going to be traded, wala ng isip isip, go let’s do it. Joseph was fantastic with his attacks.”

McMorrow finished with 19 points and 23 rebounds to remain a dominating force for Barako. Garcia scored 14 points while Pascual and Chua added 12 points apiece.

Emmett scored 32 points while Hodge had 17 markers for Meralco, which fell to 2-3.

First Game
BARAKO BULL 105 – Yeo 28, McMorrow 19, Garcia 14, Pascual 12, Chua 12, Lanete 8, Intal 5, Wilson 3, Lastimosa 2, Ababou 2, Hubalde 0, Maierhofer 0.

MERALCO 99 – Emmett 32, Hodge 17, Cortez 9, David 9, Ando 8, Anthony 7, Guevarra 7, Ferriols 4, Dillinger 2, Nabong 2, Ildefonso 2, Sena 0.

Quarters: 18-33, 41-52, 75-73, 105-99.

Second Game
SAN MIGUEL 100 – Reid 29, Fajardo 21, Ross 14, Cabagnot 13, Santos 12, Lasiter 6, Tubid 3, Omolon 2, Lutz 0, Espinas 0.

STAR HOTSHOTS 89 – Blakely 29, Barroca 15, Yap 11, Mallari 9, Pennisi 8, Devance 5, Melton 4, Pingris 4, Maliksi 4, Simon 0.

Quarters: 22-16, 46-29, 71-64, 100-89