(Ynares Center, Antipolo)
4:15 p.m. -- Blackwater vs. Globalport
7 p.m. -- Ginebra vs. Phoenix
MERALCO relied on its solid endgame plays last night to turn back a gritty Mahindra squad, 86-83, in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bolts improved to a 6-5 win-loss record tied with the Enforcers and boosted their chances in going into the playoffs.
The win was also a fitting redemption to Meralco’s heartbreaking 103-104 loss against Star Hotshots in its last outing.
Allen Durham once again provided the spark the Bolts needed for the thrilling win, finishing with 34 points and grabbing 17 rebounds.
He was later named best player of the game.
Jared Dillinger and Chris Newsome were the only other Meralco players who were in double figures, with Dillinger adding 12 points while Newsome contributed 10 points.
“It’s actually nice to win a close game,” said Bolts coach Norman Black. “This is a little bit scary.”
“The ball bounced our way today and we won the game,” he added.
Black also had nothing but praises for their opponent.
“Mahindra has really improved this conference, their coach did a really good job,” said Black. “Now, we just have to wait and sit back to see who we’re going to play next.”
The Bolts started off strong behind the efforts of Durham and Dillinger and posted a 58-45 lead in the third period.
The Enforcers got their second wind after that, sparking a 9-0 run to trim the gap to four, 54-58 but Meralco mounted its own rally to erect a 71-62 advantage heading to the payoff period.
Mahindra, however, did not back down from the challenge, as it raced to an 8-0 blitz capped by Aldrech Ramos’ trey to tie the count at 77-all in the final 5:20 of the game.
Enforcers import James White then drilled a jumper to give them their first taste of the lead, 83-82 with two minutes remaining.
A seesaw battle ensued in the next frame up until Durham scored in the last 46.5 seconds of the match to give the Bolts an 84-83 advantage.
White missed on a basket attempt in the last 32 seconds and gave Meralco the chance to seal the win, but Jimmy Alapag’s pass was intercepted by LA Revilla in the final 11.6 seconds.
But as luck would have it, Mahindra committed an unforced error with White failing to catch Ramos’ pass in the ensuing play.
The Enforcers almost stole the ball on Meralco’s next possession, but Durham ended up with it before getting fouled. The Bolts import sank two free throws with just 1.2 seconds left.
Mahindra didn’t have any timeout left to draw a play. Instead, they settled for a Mark Yee desperation heave which fell short.
White finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds while Ramos tallied 17 points and 12 boards to lead Mahindra.
Meralco (86) -- Durham 34, Dillinger 12, Newsome 10, Hugnatan 9, Alapag 7, Amer 4, Hodge 3, Uyloan 3, Faundo 2, Nabong 2, Al-Hussaini 0.
Mahindra (83) -- White 27, Ramos 17, Revilla 12, Yee 9, Taha 8, Aguilar 4, Guinto 2, Digregorio 2, Agovida 2, Mandani 0, Webb 0, Galanza 0, Bagatsing 0, Ballesteros 0, De Vera 0.
Quarterscores: 25-22, 50-45, 71-62, 86-83.