Banking on its specialty of playing lock-down defense, B-MEG wrested the solo lead the only way they knew how and grabbed automatic entry in the semifinal round of the PBA Governors’ Cup at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The Llamados won, 77-61, holding the Alaska Aces down to a season-low output even with Marqus Blakely playing only 26 minutes and not seeing action the entire fourth period.
The Llamados did a great job shackling Sonny Thoss and Cyrus Baguio, Alaska’s two key players, to extend their winning streak to five. B-MEG now holds a 5-1 card, half a game ahead of Rain or Shine, to move to the top of the team standings.
Thoss struggled for 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field while Baguio finished with only five points on a 1-for-4 shooting clip from the field. All in all, the Aces got only seven points from their bench with only Baguio and Brandon Cablay scoring for the reserves.
The Aces were also held down to 32.4% shooting from the field and were beaten in the assist department, 20-9.
The 61 points scored by Alaska was the fourth all-time lowest score by any franchise in the league. It was also the Aces’ lowest production in nine years.
B-MEG coach Tim Cone, who masterfully put on a perfect game plan in handing his former team its worst beating in years, attributed his team’s good defense as the key to the victory.
“We played really good defense, the best defensive game since I’ve been around,” said Cone during the post-game interview. “We made a strong focus on defense in second half.”
The five straight wins chalked up by B-MEG allowed the squad to enter the semifinal round trouble-free, but Cone wasn’t paying too much attention to the fact.
“We have no thoughts if we’re in or out,” added Cone. “We didn’t feel we’ve accomplished anything yet. Our goal is keep on winning. We come in and play basketball games whether you’re in the semis or not and you have to keep on winning and keep that mentality because we will be facing three tough teams next – Petron, Talk ‘N Text and Powerade.”
But while the Llamados look like they’re on a roll right now, they do have bad news on the condition of Blakely’s health.
“I’m afraid Marqus has a concussion. He had food poisoning yesterday and got hit earlier. He had health problems himself. Knowing we won’t play him in the second half, Ping (Marc Pingris) played heavy minutes, and PJ (Simon) and James (Yap) provided us double threats on the floor. Together, they changed the way we play,” said Cone.
“But I’m really concerned about the condition of Marqus. We’re gonna give him a concussion test. We have to ask the doctor if he’s fit to play. I told him earlier if you’re seeing spots in your vision, we won’t play you. You don’t mess around with a concussion, but hopefully we can get him ready against Petron,” added Cone.
B-Meg (77) – Blakely 13, Intal 13, Simon 13, Urbiztondo 8, Yap 8, Pingris 7, De Ocampo 6, Reavis 5, Barroca 4, Acuna 0, Gaco 0, Burstcher 0, Bono 0, Villanueva 0.
Alaska (61) – Forte 24, Tenorio 17, Thoss 10, Baguio 5, Baracael 2, Cablay 2, Espinas 1, Jazul 0, Custodio 0, Eman 0, Gonzales 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 20-24, 38-38, 60-46, 77-61
Source: Reynaldo Belen, InterAKTV
Watch replay of this game --> here