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MANILA, Philippines – Meralco gave defending champion Magnolia a rude awakening in their 2019 PBA Governors’ Cup debut with a come-from-behind 98-92 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, September 21.
Chris Newsome, import Allen Durham, and Raymond Almazan all had double-double performances as the Bolts stormed back from a 16-point hole to kick off their campaign on the right track.
The 3 players proved crucial in the endgame with Newsome knocking down the triple that cut the Hotshots’ lead to 92-89 before Durham and Almazan sank another pair of three-pointers for a 95-92 advantage.
Magnolia failed to score in the final 4 minutes as Baser Amer secured the victory for Meralco with a pair of free throws with less than 30 seconds left.
Newsome finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Durham – who is back with the team for the fourth straight Governors’ Cup – delivered 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Meanwhile, Almazan had his best game since getting acquired by the Bolts with 19 points, 13 rebounds, and the blocked shot on Mark Barroca with 17 seconds left that closed all doors on a Hotshots comeback.
John Pinto had 9 points, Bryan Faundo added 8 points, while Amer chimed in 7 points for Meralco.
Romeo Travis paced Magnolia with 22 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals, but his side just could not protect its lead after being outscored 50-35 in the second half.
The Hotshots were in prime position to start their title-retention bid on a winning note as they led 49-33 in the first half before they fizzled out.
Paul Lee had 20 points, Barroca put up 18 points and 7 rebounds, Peter June Simon scored 12 points, and Ian Sangalang added 11 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. – Rappler.com