MANILA, Philippines – Even in the international stage, Meralco Bolts' woes continued.
The Philippine's Bolts received a rude welcome in their FIBA Asia Champions Cup debut as they succumbed to a 92-100 loss to Thailand's Mono Vampire at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi on Thursday, September 27.
Losing three straight games in its ongoing Governors' Cup campaign in the PBA, Meralco still couldn't catch a break as it saw its comeback attempt fall short against a determined Mono side that protected its home court.
Meralco trailed by 10 points midway through the payoff period but managed to make a game out of it behind a 7-0 run to trim its deficit to three, 89-92.
However, Vampire imports Marcus Keen and Michael Singletary restored order with back-to-back two-pointers in the last two minutes to put the game away the Bolts' reach.
Keene delivered 29 points and 8 assists while Singletary chalked up a double-double of 25 points, 15 rebounds and 2 steals by playing in all 40 minutes.
Former NBA player Diamond Stone, a late replacement for initial import Liam McMorrow, churned out 23 points and 8 rebounds for Meralco, which failed to sustain an early lead.
Despite missing the services of Filipino-Americans Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge due to eligibility issues, the Bolts had a promising start after ending the maiden period with a 28-21 advantage.
But Mono managed to overtake the lead in the middle quarters behind Keene and Singletary and pulled away in the last frame.
Allen Durham finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds, Baser Amer had 18 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists while Reynel Hugnatan added 13 points in the loss.
Up next for Meralco is Japan's Alvark Tokyo on Friday, September 28.
Mono 100 - Keene 29, Singletary 25, Apiromvilaichai 13, Saengtong 11, Klahan 7, Chanthachon 6, Ananti 4, Suktub 3, Sunthonsiri 2.
Meralco 92 - Stone 23, Durham 20, Amer 18, Hugnatan 13, Caram 8, Salva 5, Tolomia 3, Jamito 2, Atkins 0, Ballesteros 0, Canaleta 0, Lanete 0.
Quarters: 21-28, 47-50, 70-70, 100-92.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.