|Today - 7:00PM - Smart Araneta Coliseum|
Meralco’s Gary David picked a perfect time to start dropping bombs for the Bolts.
On Sunday, the player they call ‘El Granda’ was simply explosive as he scored 31 big points, leading his Meralco team to a come-from-behind victory over NLEX and send his team through to its first appearance in the PBA’s final four.
“Na-challenge rin lang ako kasi nung Game One, yung depensang ibinigay nila sa akin iba,” David told sportswriters after the game. “Ngayon, pinaghandaan ko lang. Gumamit ako ng ibang option tsaka strategy.”
NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez claimed his team was “robbed” of a win against Meralco on Sunday night.
The Road Warriors got swept by the Bolts in the quarterfinals after losing, 91-85, in overtime in a game they led by as much as 20 points in the third quarter.
Fernandez took the blame for NLEX’s collapse but also pointed the finger at “somebody else”—perhaps a reference to the referees. But the former San Beda Red Lions’ multi-titled mentor did not go into detail.
MERALCO came back from 20 points down to shock NLEX, 91-85, in overtime and advance to the semifinals of the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts stared at a 64-44 deficit in the third quarter before finding their way back behind veteran guard Gary David, who scored a season-high 31 points including 14 in the fourth period.
“I thought my team played with a lot of guts in the second half,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black. “We got thoroughly outplayed in the first half by the NLEX team. They threw new wrinkles at us and we didn’t respond to them.”
Purefoods and Talk ‘N Text have had several memorable playoff encounters, including duels for the championship. Earlier this conference, they did battle in a grueling triple-overtime thriller that is sure to be an instant classic.
For the latest chapter in what is building up to be a modern rivalry, Purefoods coach Tim Cone is bracing himself for another big-time clash with the Tropang Texters.
“Now we’re up against Talk ‘N Text and it should be a whale of a series,” Cone told sportswriters after his team’s victory over Alaska on Sunday.
Purefoods guard Justin Melton tried his hand at broadcasting with PBA D-League standout Moala Tautuaa as his cameraman on Sunday following the Hotshots’ win over the Alaska Aces.
Melton along with Tautuaa, who is projected top overall pick in the next PBA Draft, played around with a TV crew’s camera and microphone and drew laughs from onlookers outside the team dugouts.
The 27-year-old Melton also joked he wants NLEX to beat Meralco because he’s “tired.” A win by the Road Warriors would mean the Hotshots won’t play until Sunday.
DEFENDING champion Purefoods survived Alaska, 96-89, to enter the semifinals of the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Hotshots looked well on their way to a blowout after taking a 75-55 lead following a 3-pointer by Mark Barroca early in the fourth quarter.
But Purefoods needed to hold off the Aces, who got to within four, 88-84, after a baseline floater by Damion James with 2:12 remaining. Marc Pingris stretched the Hotshots lead to six before two free throws by Alex Mallari sealed the game, 92-84, with 32.8 seconds left.
PBA Commissioner Chito Salud on Saturday suspended a referee for the remainder of the conference after missing a crucial call in the final seconds of a quarterfinals game between Rain or Shine and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel.
In a statement released on Sunday, Salud said upon review, a 24-second shot clock violation should have been called with 8.7 seconds left on the game clock.
Had the whistle was blown it would’ve prevented a breakaway layup by the Elasto Painters’ Jeff Chan with 4.6 ticks left that proved to be the game-winning basket.