Buenafe leads Meralco win over Barako Bull
MANILA – Ronjay Buenafe scored all of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to lead Meralco Bolts to a 112-104 victory over Barako Bull in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday.
Averaging 8.2 points in the ongoing conference, Buenafe surprised everyone by sparking a 17-4 run against the Energy Cola in the final quarter.
The surge helped Meralco recover from an 80-83 deficit, allowing the Bolts to hold on the lead until the final buzzer.
“It’s great to see players waking up after a long sleep and it’s just nice to see Ronjay heeding the call when we were struggling there in the fourth,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio in the league’s official website.
Buenafe’s output is just a point behind Ninoa Canaleta’s conference record in Air21’s 86-83 loss to Talk ‘N Text.
“In our team, you don’t know who’s gonna light up,” added Gregorio. “One game it’s Sunday (Salvacion), the next night Macmac (Cardona). Tonight it was Ronjay who shone the brightest offensively,” added Gregorio.
Meralco import Eric Dawson had a double-double performance with 27 points and 20 rebounds. Chris Ross added 17 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
The win improved the Bolts' record to 4 victories in 7 starts.
Evan Brock had game-highs of 37 points and 25 rebounds, but all his efforts went to naught due to Meralco’s fourth quarter-incursion.
Adding to Barako Bull’s woes was Josh Urbiztondo’s limited output.
Urbiztondo was held to four points on 22 misses from the three-point area. He averages 15.3 points per game.
Meralco 112 - Dawson 27, Buenafe 19, Ross 17, Hugnatan 13, Cardona 12, Reyes 9, Salvacion 9, Hodge 4, Artadi 2, Manuel 0, Guevarra 0.
Barako 104 - Brock 37, Villanueva 16, Macapagal 16, Pennisi 14, Seigle 11, Urbiztondo 4, Maliksi 3, Anthony 3, Weinstein 0, Intal 0.
Quarterscores: 32-19, 48-51, 78-77, 112-104