With James Yap riding the bench due to back spasms, B-MEG turned to its unsung heroes to help finish the job.
Rafi Reavis, Yancy de Ocampo, and Mark Barroca stepped up in the absence of Llamados’ key players as B-MEG came from behind to defeat Talk ‘N Text, 94-91, in the first televised basketball game at the new SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Import Marqus Blakely had a monster line of 26 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, five steals and four blocks. He got ample support from Reavis and De Ocampo, who combined for 22 points and nine rebounds, and Barroca, who added seven points and eight rebounds.
Already missing JC Intal and Joe Devance, who is out for the conference, B-MEG lost Yap in the first half because of back problems.
“We tried to give it a try, but we felt it’s too much for us to risk his injury,” said B-MEG coach Tim Cone about Yap.
“It proved us a blessing in disguise as Yancy and Mark stepped up. I told Yancy that as long as you stay physical out there, we will continue giving you the ball. As for Mark, I told him that he needs to step and he hit some big shots and made big plays.”
The Llamados picked up their seventh win in 10 games, putting them a game behind the league-leading Rain or Shine Elasto Painters.
The Llamados trailed by as many as 11 points in the first period, 27-16, on a basket by Paul Harris.
But a 12-3 run in the second period, capped by Marc Pingis’ back-to-back baskets, tied the game at 31-all.
From then on, it was a see-saw battle until the final minute of the match.
Split charities by Josh Urbiztondo in the last 40 seconds gave the Llamados a 94-88 lead, but the Tropang Texters refused to fold up easily.
Larry Fonacier hit a three-pointer in the next play, then Jayson Castro forced a turnover on Barroca in the next play, allowing Talk ‘N Text another opportunity to tie the game with a three-pointer.
But Ranidel de Ocampo’s attempt went off the mark. After Simon missed two free throws in the Llamados’ next offensive trip, De Ocampo lost the ball on the rebound play allowing B-MEG to preserve the win.
B-MEG (94) – Blakely 26, Urbiztondo 14, Pingris 12, Reavis 12, De Ocampo 10, Simon 8, Barroca 7, Villanueva 5, Yap 0.
Talk ‘N Text (91) – Harris 24, Alapag 17, Castro 15, Williams 13, Fonacier 9, Aguilar 8, De Ocampo 3, Reyes 2, Aban 0, Lao 0, Peek 0.
Quarters: 19-27, 39-49, 67-67, 94-91
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