Rashawn McCarthy finally showed up as expected and Columbian rediscovered its winning ways anew. McCarthy exploded for a career-high 30 points, powering the Dyip to an 86-85 cliffhanger over Meralco last night in the PBA Philippine Cup's resumption at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
McCarthy anchored his performance on a 6-of-12 three-point shooting with his last triple giving the Dyip an 86-80 lead that proved enough of a cushion in the final 2:30 of the game.
It was a big bounce-back game for McCarthy, who scored only two points in a 72-94 loss to Alaska last Feb. 6, capping Columbian's three-game slide before a three-week break.
"I hit a couple of shots early and then kept being aggressive," said McCarthy, who went 11-of-22 from the field and also had eight rebounds and three assists.
"The guys told me to just be aggressive. My teammates trusted me, my coaches trusted me so I just made more shots today. I was a lot more aggressive today, looking for ways to attack and set up my teammates." It almost wasn't enough, though.
Chris Newsome strung up five straight points to cap his team-high 17 points and bring the Bolts within one, but Baser Amer and Cliff Hodge misfired in their respective thrusts inside the last 13 seconds.
As a result, Columbian snapped out of its funk and improved to a 3-4 slate while wresting eighth-running spot from its victim, which absorbed a second straight loss and fell to 2-4.
Dyip coach Johnedel Cardel couldn't be more proud of the way his charges didn't wilt despite facing an early 15-point lead and then held up against a more seasoned team like Meralco Sponsored content: "We're just lucky. In the first quarter, we started really, really bad," said Cardel.
Along with resting his players during most of their break, Cardel also took time to talk to McCarthy. "I told him: 'I need you here, you're one of the key players and one of the hearts and souls of this team,'" related Cardel. "'If you don't play better, nothing will happen to our team.'"
It wasn't all McCarthy, though. Glenn Khobuntin added his own personal-high 14 points and Eric Camson chipped in 10 points while the likes of Andreas Cahilig and Jeepy Faundo provided energy and hustle.
Despite CJ Perez being held to only eight points, Columbian still whittled what was once a 11-26 deficit to just 42-45 at halftime before engaging Meralco in a nip-and-tuck affair the rest of the way.*pba.ph
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