THE Meralco Bolts are heading into the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup playoffs on a high after racking up their fourth straight win in their final game of the eliminations over the defending champions Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings, 79-66, on Thursday in Pampanga.
Already assured of the number two seed in the quarterfinals of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association tournament, the Bolts showed no letup, dominating the game early and finishing strong to book the win that pushed them to a 9-2 record at the end of classification play.
“We just wanted to build momentum. We did not want to go into the playoffs coming off a loss,” said Meralco Bolts coach Norman Black after the game.
Meralco opened the proceedings with a 10-0 run, which it used to set the pace en route to building a comfortable 47-32 advantage by the half time break.
In the third quarter, the Kings found their footing, outscoring the Bolts, 19-8, to narrow the gap, 55-51, entering the final quarter.
But Meralco regained its form in the payoff canto, reestablishing a double-digit lead, 68-58, midway and never looking back from there.
Mac Belo and rookie Alvin Pasaol led the Bolts in the win with 15 points apiece.
The loss dealt Barangay Ginebra’s playoff hopes a big blow as it fell to 4-7, sending them to a three-way tie, as of this writing, for number eight, along with the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters and Terrafirma Dyip, and will have to go through a playoff match, if ever, just to make it to the quarterfinals. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo