OUTSIDE shooting became Barako Bull’s primary weapon as it buried crucial perimeter baskets down the stretch to hold off pesky Meralco, 108-106, and even its record in the 2015 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup yesterday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Josh Urbiztondo came off the bench to have his best game in a long while, scoring a team-high 24 points, including 4-of-8 shooting from downtown, to spearhead the Energy’s attack, while RR Garcia helped out with 18 points.
Barako Bull was able to overcome Gary David’s explosion as the Meralco star poured in a season-high 40 points.
The victory pushed the Energy to 2-2 in the standings to remain in the middle of the pack, while the hard luck Bolts are left as the only team without a win, dropping to 0-4 at the cellar.
‘’Our players showed character and stayed focused in the crucial moments,’’ said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal. ‘’We really wanted to win this game. The players deserve this win. I give credit to them.’’
Down, 82-84, heading into the final eight minutes, the Energy suddenly waxed hot from the outside to turn the game in their favor.
Five straight Mac Baracael points –all from jumpers–followed by a triple by Urbiztondo highlighted a decisive 12-0 blast that turned that slim deficit into a double-digit lead, 94-84, with 7:17 remaining.
Meralco remained within striking distance and even threatened in the final minute, but Barako Bull answered every time with timely baskets and a key stop to end the game.
A 6-0 run that concluded with less than a minute left after a triple from David with 32 seconds left inched the Bolts to within just two, 106-108.
Meralco had the ball in the final seconds and had the chance to either send the game to overtime or snatch the win, but Reynel Hugnatan’s hook shot was swatted by Willie Wilson in the dying ticks to allow Barako Bull to escape with the win.
Wilson himself had a nice outing as he finished with 17 points for Barako Bull.
While Barako Bull wasn’t able to score in the final minute, its lead was too much of a leverage for Meralco to overcome.
BARAKO 108 – Urbiztondo 24, Garcia 18, Wilson 17, Monfort 12, Intal 9, Cruz 8, Pennisi 6, Baracael 5, Lanete 3, Caperal 2, Miranda 2, Sorongon 2, Fortuna 0.
MERALCO 106 – David 40, Newsome 12, Hugnatan 10, Amer 9, Alapag 7, Nabong 7, Caram 6, Dillinger 5, Al-Hussaini 4, Faundo 4, Sedurifa 2, Ferriols 0, Hodge 0.
Quarters: 32-23, 56-52, 79-82, 108-106
(Alonte Sports Complex, Binan, Laguna):
4:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs. Mahindra
7 p.m. – Barangay Ginebra vs. Meralco