The wait has finally come to an end.
Blistering from the offensive end all conference long, Gary David carried the Meralco Bolts to an 87-83 victory over Star for their first win in the 2016 Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup, Saturday, at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Gilas veteran scored Meralco’s last 11 points, erecting the huge 83-76 lead with 5:02 to go, creating enough of a buffer before James Yap and Ian Sangalang clawed Star to as close as four, 87-83, with 43.8 left on the clock.
However, the Bolts defense denied the Hotshots from scoring at that point, preserving the long overdue victory.
David led Meralco with 26 points on 12-of-25 shooting.
Coach Norman Black praised his star guard, saying, “He has given us a lot of stability. At this point of the season and looking at how my team is performing, we need his points every minute of the game. He’ll miss shots, he’ll make shots, but I want him to stay aggressive.”
Rabeh Al-Hussaini contributed 12 markers, three boards, and three blocks, while Reynel Hugnatan got a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds for Meralco.
“I’m happy my players really focused on their defense tonight. They came in and gave the effort defensively,” said Black. “I thought we limited our mistakes on the defensive end, something we have not done so far this conference. Our major problem this year is sometimes, our defense breaks down. Today, they had the energy, the focus, and the drive to get the first victory. Hopefully, this will lead to more victories in the future.”
Yap led Star with 26 points and six rebounds, as Marc Pingris ended up with 13 markers and four boards.
MERALCO 87 – David 26, Al-Hussaini 12, Hugnatan 10, Nabong 9, Newsome 8, Dillinger 6, Hodge 6, Atkins 5, Faundo 5, Amer 0.
STAR 83 – Yap 26, Pingris 13, Sangalang 9, Taha 9, Mallari 8, Simon 8, Barroca 3, Maliksi 3, Melton 2, J. Pascual 2, R. Pascual 0, Torres 0.
Quarters: 21-24, 43-44, 69-69, 87-83.