Meralco survived an Alex Cabagnot-led uprising by Petron Blaze and held on for a pulsating 113-112 win to end its season on a high note in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Mario West eluded three defenders in the closing seconds and hit a difficult shot that proved to be the game-winner for the Bolts.
“There were anxious moments as we couldn’t stop Cabagnot. Petron came out strong in the fourth and we needed one last shot from Mario to win it,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.
The Bolts ended their campaign in back-to-back wins to grab fifth place in the season-ending conference. They finished the season with an overall 20-23 record, a big improvement from their 13-20 mark in their inaugural stint last yeat.
“Definitely this is a lot better from the previous one,” said Gregorio. “Talk about progress, we definitely made a lot of progress this season.”
West’s golden basket capped his 41-point explosion in 48 minutes of play.
It came after Cabagnot drilled a three-pointer to put the Boosters to a 112-111 lead with 5.7 seconds remaining.
Gregorio sued for a timeout and let West attack the shaded area. He was met by three Petron players but was able to elude their defense with a twisting drive.
Mark Cardona added 26 points for Meralco while Chris Ross had a near triple-double effort for the Bolts with 10 points, 10 boards and eight assists.
Cabagnot had a great all-around effort with 29 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists, but it all went down the drain as the Boosters’ record dropped to 6-8.
Petron finished the season with a 23-23 win-loss mark, its worst season performance in the last four years. Last year, the team had a 32-24 in coach Ato Agustin’s first year at the helm.
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