(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. -- Mahindra vs. Talk N Text
7 p.m. -- NLEX vs. Phoenix Fuel Masters
MERALCO relied on a late uprising to turn back a gritty NLEX squad, 101-95, for its second straight win in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
The Bolts improved to a 5-3 win-loss record while dealing the Road Warriors their fourth loss in seven games.
Import Allen Durham and Baser Amer became the pillar of strength for Meralco, drilling in timely baskets in the endgame for the win.
Durham capped the night with a double-double performance of 31 points and 17 rebounds.
He also dished out five assists, enough to earn the best player of the game honor.
Amer, on the other hand, went scoreless as he entered the game but made up for it by scoring seven straight points with only a minute remaining to lift the Bolts to victory.
Cliff Hodge contributed 17 points, while Jared Dillinger, Kelly Nabong and Chris Newsome had 12 points each.
Bryan Faundo added 10 points.
“This was a really good team effort on our part today,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We got a lot of contributions from a lot of people.”
“We really showed we are a team in this game. It’s a really hard-fought game,” he added.
Black also commended his wards’ performance on the boards.
“We wanted to win the rebound battle, and we did,” Black said.
Actually, the game was as close as it could get in the first half before the Bolts unleashed a 13-5 run anchored on Durham, Faundo and Hodge, who drilled a three-pointer to gain a 44-36 lead at the break.
But the Road Warriors did not take this sitting down, as import Henry Walker suddenly caught on fire in the third canto, sinking three straight treys to tie the game at 55-all.
That sparked a 9-0 run by NLEX to gain the lead, 64-58.
But Meralco got its game going again in the next frame and took back the lead, 70-66, at the end of the third.
But as luck would have it, Walker incurred his fifth foul in the early moments of the payoff period that was taken advantaged off immediately by Meralco.
The Bolts pushed the lead up to nine points, 80-71, but the Road Warriors did not back down as Asi Taulava and Emman Monfort made things happen and tied the game at 84-all.
NLEX got a two-point advantage, 90-88, after Walker sank another triple.
Amer scored his first points from the line, and then sank a triple in the ensuing play for a 95-88 count in the last minute.
Amer again came up with a brilliant play in the last 33 seconds, drilling in a floater for a 97-90 edge and never looking back from there.
Walker posted a game-high 38 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer coach Leo Austria clarified that AZ Reid remains part of the team, but confirmed management is looking for a replacement import in his absence due to injury.
Reacting to reports that San Miguel had decided to sack Reid, who earlier said he could miss games owing to an Achilles heel injury on his right foot, Austria said Reid will only be relegated to the injury list even if they find a replacement.
“We don’t have any plan to change him, but nag-alala lang kami the past days kasi hindi namin alam kung kailan siya makakabalik, so this is my responsibility to get another import,” Austria said in an interview with Spin.ph.
Meralco (101) -- Durham 31, Hodge 17, Dillinger 12, Nabong 12, Newsome 12, Faundo 10, Amer 7, Buenafe 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0.
NLEX (95) -- Walker 38, Anthony13, Monfort 12, Taulava 10, Khobuntin 8, Baracael 4, Akl 3, Arboleda 3, Alas 2, Reyes 2, Soyud 0, Villanueva E. 0.
Quarterscores: 22-19, 44-36, 70-66, 101-95.