MANILA - Meralco put Ginebra in danger of missing the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals after dealing them a 79-66 romping in the final day of the elimination round on Thursday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
The Bolts quickly clobbered the Gin Kings in the first half, opening a 47-32 lead entering the intermission.
Ginebra somehow found its way back in the game after holding Meralco to just eight third-quarter points, but the latter recovered in the fourth quarter to pull away.
Mac Belo and Alvin Pasaol each scored 15 points for the Bolts, which finished the first round of the conference with an 9-2 record even as they enter the quarterfinals as the second seeds with a twice-to-beat advantage.
Stanley Pringle put up 19 points, four rebounds, one assist, and four steals, while Christian Standhardinger added 17 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, and one steal for the Gin Kings, who must now hope that the NorthPort Batang Pier would beat the Alaska Aces later Thursday to get to play in the eighth-place playoff against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
Otherwise, Ginebra would become the first team to be eliminated early into the season-opening conference after winning the championship the previous year since Shell got ousted after the preliminary phase of the 2000 edition. (PNA)