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Best from West lifts Bolts over TnT

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2013 - 8:00pm

MANILA, Philippines -- Meralco worked with its butt out in the second half, erasing a 10-point halftime deficit as the Bolts withstood the Talk n Text Tropang Texters, 92-86, in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Friday night.

The Bolts gutted out defensively and rode high on Mario West’s 47-point explosion on the offensive end as they checked a two-game slide and pulled even with the reigning champs Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the middle of the chart at 2-2.

“The best way to compete with a star-studded team is to focus on defense. I thought that’s our only chance, and it bailed us out,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

“Mario West lifted our spirit offensively. There’s time that we’re losing it. But we kept on talking to one another, trying to find a way to win. We finally broke their zone in the second half,” Gregorio also said.

Gilas Pilipinas mainstays Ranidel de Ocampo, Jayson Castro and Larry Fonacier rejoined Talk n Text but failed to save the Texters from reeling to a second straight loss.

Meralco’s defense and West’s explosion proved too much.

West went 4-of-8 from the three-point area, 14-of-19 from the two-point zone and 7-of-12 from the stripe as he improved his previous PBA best of 41 points.

The former Atlanta Hawk and New Jersey Net nearly outscored the entire Talk n Text team in the fourth quarter, piling up 18 points to power the Bolts to the come-from-behind win.

Holding a precarious 87-86 lead, the Bolts went to West and Cliff Hodge to finish off the Texters.

West also came through with eight rebounds, five assists and one steal while Hodge delivered 18 markers and 15 caroms.

Tony Mitchell blew hot and cold, pouring in 17 in the second quarter after going scoreless in the first period. He added 15 in the final half to finish with 32 markers that went with 11 rebounds, three steals and two assists against five turnovers.

West upstaged Mitchell, with the hardworking Meralco import punctuating his splendid performance with a sneaky drive to hold off Talk n Text’s own fightback at the finish.

Mitchell scored on a reversed layup then knocked in a trey as the Bolts came to within one at 86-87 with 2:05 left to play.

The Texters, however, didn’t score a basket again with Castro and De Ocampo muffing crucial offensive thrusts.

Meanwhile, Petron tries to firm up its hold of the lead, going for a fourth straight win as it battles San Mig Coffee Saturday night at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Rain or Shine and Air21 slug it out in the other game.

ATLANTA HAWK AND NEW JERSEY NET CASTRO AND DE OCAMPO GILAS PILIPINAS GOVERNORS CUP JAYSON CASTRO AND LARRY FONACIER MALL OF ASIA ARENA MARIO WEST MERALCO MITCHELL TEXTERS
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