MANILA, Philippines – Meralco spoiled the PBA comeback of league great Danny Ildefonso and scraped past Converge in a heated 132-129 overtime win in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, March 3.
KJ McDaniels and Aaron Black showed the way with a pair of big games, while Anjo Caram drained clutch free throws that allowed the Bolts to escape after an intense endgame that saw two players slapped with flagrant fouls.
Shortly after draining a three-pointer to give Meralco a 130-128 lead, Maliksi got the boot with six ticks left for choking Barkley Eboña.
In an attempt to stop the clock, Eboña delivered a hard foul on Maliksi, who retaliated by grabbing the FiberXers big man by the neck.
Benches were cleared but cooler heads prevailed as officials tossed out Maliksi with a flagrant foul two and sent Eboña back to the bench with a flagrant foul one.
With Maliksi unable to take his free throws due to his ejection, the Bolts turned to Caram, who iced two foul shots to seal the win.
Converge earned two free throws plus possession thanks to Maliksi, but Teng split his charity shots and Jerrick Balanza missed the potential game-tying triple.
McDaniels churned out 33 points and 12 rebounds, while Black put up 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists as Meralco survived despite a 57-point explosion from Converge import Jamaal Franklin.
Franklin also finished with a triple-double after putting up 14 points and 11 assists but fouled out with two minutes remaining in the extra period.
The loss marked the PBA return of Ildefonso, who recorded 1 rebound in four minutes of action in his first game back since retiring in 2015.
Meralco 132 – McDaniels 33, Black 28, Hodge 18, Almazan 16, Quinto 12, Maliksi 12, Newsome 11, Caram 2, Banchero 0, Jose 0.
Converge 129 – Franklin 57, Ahanmisi 24, Racal 14, Stockton 9, Tratter 7, Balanza 6, Tolomia 5, Arana 4, Teng 3, Ildefonso 0, Ebona 0.
Quarters: 30-22, 62-55, 83-92, 121-121, 132-129.
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