B-MEG needed a strong finishing kick to repulse the challenge of Air 21, 88-79, and end a two-game slide Saturday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Tacloban Convention Center.
The Llamados used a 16-8 spurt in the first eight minutes of the fourth period to break away from a tight contest and improve their win-loss mark to 3-2 while handing the Express their second straight loss to slip to 1-2.
Denzel Bowles led B-MEG with 27 points while James Yap and Mark Barroca each had 12 points for the Llamados.
“That was a battle for us and they are playing very well so we were not surprised how hard they played us,” said B-MEG coach Tim Cone, who also drew 11 points from Peter June Simon.
“[Marcus] Douthit is really a great import and we were really worried about him today. I though Rafi Reavis played well tonight against him.”
Douthit led Air 21 with 22 points but was a non-factor in the final quarter where the Llamados pull away.
After Ren-Ren Ritualo banged in a triple to trim the lead to 64-62, Yancy de Ocampo and Joe Devance joined forces in leading a decisive 16-8 exchange that allowed the Llamados erect an 80-67 spread with less than four minutes remaining.
Air 21 never had a serious run since.
“We didn’t play the way we wanted to play in the first half,” said Cone whose wards trailed 38-37 after the first 24 minutes.
“We finally got going in the fourth quarter. It brought easy baskets from our defense.”
Ritualo chipped in 16 points for the Express of coach Franz Pumaren.
B-MEG 88 – Bowles27 .. JYap12 .. Barroca12 .. Simon11 .. Devance9 .. deOcampo7 .. Pingris4 .. Urbiztondo3 .. Reavis3 .. Intal0 ..
Air 21 79 – Douthit22 .. Ritualo16 .. Duncil12 .. Jazul7 .. Isip6 ..Omolon5 .. Hubalde3 .. Aquino2 .. Sison2 .. Escobal2 .. Sena2 ..Faundo0 ..
QUARTERSCORES: 21-19 37-38 64-59 88-79