Meralco averts Blackwater upset in overtime
MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts survived their second straight overtime game in 6 days as they averted a potential upset from newcomer Blackwater Elite, 83-75, on Tuesday, October 28 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to stay spotless at 2-0 in the 2015 Philippine Cup.
“It’s a win and that’s all that really matters right now,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said as his team dodged another bullet after they escaped Barako Bull in double overtime just last week. “Fortunately for us in overtime John Wilson made some big plays for us.”
John Wilson snapped out of his offensive slump in the game and scored all of his 9 points in overtime to create permanent separation from the pesky Elite, which climbed back from a double-digit hole in the fourth and forced overtime.
The Bolts squandered its 18-point lead, 54-36, midway in the third as well as its 61-47 edge entering the fourth as Meralco’s guns went cold, unable to knock down shots despite multiple second-chance opportunities.
Expansion team Blackwater, which remains winless in 3 outings so far, scratched and clawed its way back into the game with Alex Nuyles spearheading the charge. The former Adamson University stalwart caught fire in the payoff period, scoring 10 of his total 14 points along with 6 assists.
Nuyles, who was drafted by Rain or Shine last season but was acquired by the Elite in the expansion draft, sank a difficult stepback jumper over Wilson to carry his new team to within 69-67 with 1:48 to play.
Nuyles later dished to a wide open Riego Gamalinda for a three-pointer that knotted the count at 70-all with 14.8 seconds remaining. Gamalinda’s triple capped off a 17-3 Blackwater run to end regulation.
Reynel Hugnatan tried to secure the win in the final seconds of the fourth coming from a timeout but his lay-up off Gary David (7 points) dramatically rolled out of the rim – which has been the story of Meralco’s fourth quarter offense as they missed even close looks.
Blackwater held the lead briefly in extra time, 70-72, on a Gamalinda short stab, but Wilson finally converted his first field of the contest as Meralco, which dominated fastbreak points at 25-8, broke down the Elite’s composure.
“Towards the end of the third quarter we lost control of the game,” Black admitted. “Blackwater started playing well and we couldn’t turn the momentum around.”
Cliff Hodge exploded in this game with 26 points and 18 rebounds while Rey Guevarra added 10 markers.
Sean Anthony, meanwhile, flirted with a triple-double as he influenced key plays down the stretch to make up his 9 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists.
For Blackwater, Ogie Menor and Paul Artadi, who was also instrumental in the Elite’s fourth quarter rally, tallied 10 and 6 points, respectively.
MERALCO (83): Hodge 26, Guevarra 10, Wilson 9, Anthony 9, David 7, Ildefonso 6, Ferriols 6, Atkins 4, Cortez 2, Dillinger 2, Hugnatan 2, Morrison 0, Buenafe 0, Sena 0, Macapagal 0.
BLACKWATER (75): Nuyles 14, Menor 14, Faundo 10, Gamalinda 10, Artadi 6, Laure 6, Timberlake 5, Erram 4, Tiongson 2, Rodriguez 2, Ballesteros 2, Cawaling 0, Austria 0.
Quarter scores: 26-20, 44-32, 61-47, 70-70, 83-75.
Here are some images of the game taken by Nuki Sabio/PBA Images