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The Meralco Bolts sparked a late rally in the third quarter to cruise to an 83-75 win over the slumping Barako Bull Energy Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

Mark Cardona led all scorers with his 17 points along with four rebounds and two steals, while center Asi Taulava registered a double-double performance of 10 points and 17 rebounds to help Meralco move up to fourth place in the standings with a 7-4 win-loss record.

After Barako Bull guard Paul Artadi tied the game at 50-all in the third period, Meralco suddenly blasted off an 11-0 run, capped by guard Sol Mercado’s attack to the basket to end the quarter.

Meralco didn’t look back since, as it continued its hot shooting in the early moments of the fourth period, with Taulava giving the Bolts their widest margin at 15 points, 67-52, at the 10:26 mark.

Barako Bull kept on fighting until the late stretches of the game, as guards Willie Miller and Wynne Arboleda hit back-to-back baskets to cut Meralco’s lead, 80-75, with just 29.1 seconds remaining, but it was not enough for the Energy, which lost its third straight game.

Miller and center Mick Pennisi both scored 14 points to lead Barako Bull, which now has an identical 5-5 record with Barangay Ginebra for sixth place in the team standings.

The scores:

MERALCO 83 – Cardona 17, Espinas 16, Mercado 12, Isip 10, Taulava 10, Lanete 5, Borboran 4, Omolon 4, Macapagal 3, Hugnatan 2, Yee 0.

BARAKO 75 – Miller 14, Pennisi 14, Arboleda 13, Pena 12, Najorda 7, Ababou 5, Aquino 4, Salvador 4, Artadi 2, Salvacion 0, Allado 0.

Quarters: 21-18, 37-33, 61-50, 83-75


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