• Urbiztondo powers Barako Bull past Meralco

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    Josh Urbiztondo of Barako Bull readies to drive through the defense of Meralco’s Chris Newsome in a Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup game at the Philsports Arena inPasig City on Sunday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Josh Urbiztondo of Barako Bull readies to drive through the defense of Meralco’s Chris Newsome in a Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup game at the Philsports Arena inPasig City on Sunday. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

    Josh Urbiztondo led Barako Bull 108-106 past Meralco on Sunday for its second victory after four games in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.

    The diminutive Urbiztondo scored 10-of-17 in the field for 24 points plus three rebounds, three steals and two assists.

    “It was our defense that gave us this win,” said Urbiztondo. “Our offense just came in after playing tough defense the rest of the way.”

    Guard Ryan Roose Garcia contributed 18 points; Willie Wilson had 17 points plus eight rebounds and five assists while Eman Monfort added 12 points and six assists also for the Energy.

    “Our action determines our character,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal during the post-game interview. “Two previous games, our players showed character. After missing those four free throws, our players stayed focused. They really wanted to win this game. I give them all the credit.”

    Barako Bull delivered a strong performance in the opening quarter posting an early 32-23 lead at the start of second period. Monfort hit two triples in the first quarter for Barako Bull with support from teammates Urbiztondo and Wilson.

    Monfort, who scored a perfect 3-of-3 overall shooting in the field for 10 points in the first half beefed up Barako’s lead to 11 after scoring a jumper. But the Bolts refused to surrender in the second quarter narrowing the gap at 48-51 through two free throws of Joseph Sedurifa.

    The Energy did not relent late in the first half but David was able to maintain a close fight 56-52 at the end of halftime. David, who tallied 19 points and five rebounds in the first half, through a buzzer beating shot reduced Barako’s lead to only four.

    In the second half, Meralco’s running game and defense continued to diminish Barako’s advantage. Veteran forward Reynel Hugnatan, who finished with eight points and five rebounds, sank two free throws to give the Bolts their first taste of the lead 78-77 before the third quarter ends.

    Veteran playmaker Jimmy Alapag hit two free throws and a triple before Urbiztondo’s layup ended the third period with the Bolts leading 82-79.

    But Barako unleashed a 15-2 run highlighted by the three-point shots of Baracael and Urbiztondo in the early part of final canto allowing them to recapture the lead 94-84 with only seven minutes left.

    David scored a three-point shot with 29 seconds left to narrow the gap to 108-106. Hugnatan’s potential game-tying, buzzer-beating basket, however, was swatted away by Wilson.

    Meralco stayed winless after four games.

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