AFTER BARAKO, IT’S MERALCO THIS TIME
6:45 p.m. — Powerade vs Meralco
A gritty Powerade squad played sans its top pointmaker Gary David for most of the game but remained steady in a 99-95 triumph over Barako Bull last night that moved the Tigers to a winner-take-all showdown with Meralco today for the remaining semi-finals berth in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
David limped out of the court with severe sprain on his left ankle near the end of the first quarter and left the game for good, leaving the rest of the Tigers to fend for themselves to make up for the more than 26 points per game that he contributes.
But Josh Vanlangdinham stepped up and knocked in four three-pointers in finishing with 18 points while import Omar Sneed kept them intact with 24 points. Likewise stepping up for Powerade were Sean Anthony, Rey Guevarra and JV Casio who had 10 points apiece.
Despite his early exit, David was still able to score 13 points in the first quarter.
However, the win was just the first step in the Tigers’ bid to make it to the semis as they would still need to prevail over Meralco in a winner-take-all showdown at 6:35 p.m., also at the Cubao arena, for the last semis seat.
The winner will join early semis qualifiers Rain or Shine, B-Meg, Talk ‘N Text, Petron Blaze and Barangay Ginebra in the next phase which starts Friday.
Coming off a 52-all standoff at the half, the Tigers blasted off with a 24-11 attack, anchored on five straight points from Valangdinham, that gave them their first sizeable lead at 76-63, with 1:54 left in the third period.
The Energy could only come closest at 86-91 on three free throws by Willie Miller but Valangdinham and Sneed scored on the drive that kept Barako Bull at bay at 95-86.
“I had mixed feelings earlier about what could happen with (David’s) absence. For a long time I haven’t had a game without him. Guys like Josh and (Omar) Sneed just stepped up and picked up the cudgels tonight,” said Powerade coach Bo Perasol.
There are high expectation that David will return to action in today’s do-or-die game against the Bolts.
“If there’s a way, I will really do it (just to play). (My injury) is mid-foot arthritis and the doctor said I can play,”
POWERADE 99 — Sneed 24, Vanlandingham 18, David 13, Anthony 10, Guevarra 10, Casio 10, Lingganay 7, Salvador 4, Belasco 2, Tugade 1, Adducul 0.
BARAKO BULL 95 — Hickerson 20, Seigle 20, Kramer 14, Miller 10, Tubid 9, Pennisi 8, Cruz 7, Allado 7, Vergara 0, Salvacion 0.
Quarters: 28-26, 52-52, 79-70, 99-95