MANILA, Philippines --- Import Mario West sizzled with 29 points but it was his defense that helped power Meralco to a 91-78 win over Powerade in the PBA Governors' Cup last night at the Smart-Arenata Coliseum.
Carrying a mission to slow down Powerade's top gun Gary David, West did more than that as he held the league's scoring machine to just 20 points.
West did not only defend, he was almost everywhere as he also finished nine rebounds in a performance that earned him raves from teammates and coach Ryan Gregorio.
''It's good that we have an import who takes so much pride on defense,'' said Gregorio. ''I told him (West) that he's up against David, who is the best offensive player in the league.''
''Gary David is not better that Tyreke (Evans), Gary David is not better that Wade (Dwyane), or LeBron (James), players who West used to guard during his NBA stint.''
''It's a good win, but the goal is not achieved yet. It's very encouraging (two straight wins), while the other teams are falling down, but our destiny lies in our own hands.
West played for the Atlanta Hawks from 2007 to 2011 and for the New Jersey Nets in 2011.
For their win, the Bolts kept their semis bid alive with a 4-4 record, tying defending champion Petron and their victims, the Tigers.
''A win against Barako Bull, hopefully, will clear the way for us to one of the six spots in the semis,'' he said.
West forced David to finish with a woeful 9-of-21 shooting from the field with no free throw. The only bright moment for David was when he scored 11 points in the third frame.
In the fourth quarter, David - the Best Player of the PH Cup and a contender for the season MVP - was held to only two points, a meaningless lay-up with the Bolts comfortably ahead by double-digit with less than two minutes left in the game.
Protecting a 70-68 lead early in the fourth quarter, Meralco used a 17-4 run which guard Sol Mercado sparked on a gutsy drive.