MANILA, Philippines – Meralco shot the lights out in the second half as the Bolts turned back the Phoenix Fuel Masters, 90-74, to force a winner-take-all for a semis berth in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday, November 7, at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.
Allen Durham fueled the Bolts’ comeback to finish with a double-double of 26 points and 16 boards while Chris Newsome also chipped in 16 points.
“I repeat it over and over again. Tonight it’s about our defense,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black. “In the first half, we struggled because Phoenix is a very good defensive team. Their defense against Durham is really good in the first half.
“We just made a few adjustments and tried to take away their help defense and it worked for us.”
The Bolts will try to overcome the Fuel Masters’ twice-to-beat edge in their do-or-die quarterfinal match on Friday.
Eric Phelps paced Phoenix with a double-double of 27 points and 15 rebounds.
After tying the score at 43-all in the 8:32 mark of the 3rd quarter, the Bolts exploded for a 17-2 run and the Fuel Masters never recovered from the deficit.
Baser Amer drained two triples in the outburst that proved crucial in sealing the win for Meralco.
The former San Beda standout tallied 14 points in 35 minutes of play.
Meralco 90 – Durham 26, Newsome 16, Amer 14, Tolomia 9, Canaleta 9, Hugnatan 7, Salva 5, Dillinger 2, Faundo 2, Hodge 0, Ballesteros 0, Caram 0, Jamito 0.
Phoenix 74 – Phelps 27, Abueva 18, Perkins 9, Wright 8, Chua 6, Intal 4, Jazul 2, Revilla 0, Kramer 0, Wilson 0, Mendoza 0.
Quarter scores: 15-17, 33-35, 66-55, 90-74.