Meralco falls prey to Japan's Alvark in FIBA Asia Champions Cup
MANILA, Philippines – Meralco still couldn't crack the winning column in the 2018 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
Even with imports Allen Durham and Diamond Stone combining for 59 points, the Bolts absorbed a 73-84 loss to Japan's Alvark Tokyo at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand on Friday, September 28.
Durham chalked up 31 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks while Stone registered 28 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals but saw their monstrous numbers go down the drain as Meralco fell to 0-2 in Group B and teetered on the brink of elimination.
No other Meralco player breached double figures as Baser Amer, who delivered 18 points in their tournament-opening loss to Thailand's Mono Vampire on Thursday, was limited to just 5 points and 7 assists.
Only 5 of the 10 Bolts players who were fielded scored with Reynel Hugnatan and Garvo Lanete adding 6 and 3 points, respectively.
On the other hand, Alvark – the reigning champion in Japan's B.League – had a completely balanced attack with 3 finishing in double digits and three chipping in at least 8 points to stay unscathed at 2-0.
Alex Kirk churned out 23 points and 11 rebounds, Daiki Tanaka submitted 17 points and 7 rebounds and Genki Kojima had 12 points in the win that saw Alvark hold the upper hand for much of the contest.
The Bolts trailed by just 3 points midway through the final frame, 64-67, until Alvark rode on a game-clinching 17-9 run.
Seiya Ando put up 9 points and 5 assists while Joji Takeuichi and Milko Bjelica tallied 8 points apiece and combined for 13 rebounds for the Japanese club.
The win secured Alvark a seat in the semifinals while Meralco, Mono (1-0) and Al Riyadi (0-1) vie for the last Final Four slot.
Despite going winless, the Bolts can still advance to the semis if they beat Al Riyadi in their final elimination round game, Alvark sweeps the group stages and Mono drops its game against Al Riyadi to force a triple-tie at second.
Meralco and Al Riyadi clash at 9:30 pm on Saturday at the same venue.
Alvark 84 - Kirk 23, Tanaka 17, Kojima 12, Ando 9, Bjelica 8, Takeuchi 8, Baba 6, Kikuchi 1, Saito 0, Shonaka 0.
Meralco 73 - Durham 31, Stone 28, Hugnatan 6, Amer 5, Lanete 3, Canaleta 0, Jamito 0, Ballesteros 0, Caram 0, Tolomia 0.
Quarters: 19-17, 37-35, 60-56, 84-73.
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