MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts returned to winning ways with a close 107-104 victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday, August 18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Following a trade from Rain Or Shine, Jeff Chan made his presence felt right away as he stepped in action for the first time for Phoenix. With his team down at the start of the second quarter, the veteran shooter nailed back-to-back triples and converted a layup off a turnover to put the Fuel Masters back on top, 38-35.
He scored 17 of his 27 points in the first half alone, and went 11-of-15 from the field throughout the match.
After being down double digits, the Bolts stopped the bleeding with a 21-3 run to start the final frame. Allen Durham led the crunch time rally as he scored a go-ahead layup to provide Meralco with a 101-99 advantage late in the game.
Down 104-107, Phoenix’s new import Brandon Brown had the chance to send the game into overtime, but missed a 3-point opportunity that would have sealed the deal.
With topscoring reinforcement Eugene Phelps still nursing a foot injury, the Fuel Masters fielded in standby import Brown to anchor the team in halting its skid.
Brown, 32, last played for Istanbulspor Beylikduzu in the Turkish Basketball League where he nearly averaged a double-double of 18.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Despite the loss, the 6-foot-7 journeyman was active on both ends of the floor in his PBA debut as he finished with a game-high 38 markers, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Durham paced Meralco with 33 points, 16 boards, as well as 7 dimes, while Garvo Lanete added 27 points coupled with 4 rebounds.
The Bolts are continuing their Govs’ Cup campaign sans cadets Baser Amer and Mike Tolomia, who are both part of the Gilas lineup for the Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur.
Meralco now rises to a 5-1 record, while Phoenix absorbed its 4th defeat in a row. – Rappler.com
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