PBA Philippine Cup

Black delivers as Meralco overpowers NorthPort to get back on winning track

Martin Mendoza
Black delivers as Meralco overpowers NorthPort to get back on winning track

BLACK BACK. The returning Aaron Black tows Meralco to a one-sided win over Robert Bolick and NorthPort.

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Aaron Black comes up with an all-around performance as Meralco returns to the win column in the PBA Philippine Cup

MANILA, Philippines – The Meralco Bolts got back on the winning track in the PBA Philippine Cup with a 97-87 rout of the NorthPort Batang Pier at the Ynares Center in Antipolo on Thursday, June 23. 

Aaron Black, who missed Meralco’s previous outing due to a hand injury, took care of business for the Bolts, finishing with an all-around outing of 20 points on an efficient 9-of-12 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

With the win, Meralco moved up to 3-1, while NorthPort, which suffered its third consecutive loss, dropped to 2-3 in the standings – tied with the Converge FiberXers and the Magnolia Hotshots.

Coming off a seven-point loss to the TNT Tropang Giga, the Bolts wasted little time in flashing their dominance over the Batang Pier as they quickly built a double-digit advantage, 32-22, at the end of the first quarter.

Allein Maliksi set the tone early for the Bolts, pouring in 11 of his 16 points in the opening period alone on a sizzling 3-of-3 clip from beyond the arc.

In the second frame, it was Raymar Jose and Black who took over for Meralco, scoring 9 and 8 points, respectively, to help the Bolts stretch their lead to 19 at halftime, 56-37.

A layup by Nonoy Baclao early in the fourth quarter pushed Meralco’s lead to its largest at 27 points, 88-61, before NorthPort went on a huge 17-4 rally to pull within just 12, 92-80 with 4:09 remaining.

Unfortunately for the Batang Pier, Black countered with a personal 5-0 run in the following possessions to ultimately seal the deal for the Bolts.

“We just wanted to bounce back from our loss to Talk ‘N Text. We thought we played pretty good defense against Talk ‘N Text, but our offense was really off,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.

“Tonight our offense flowed a lot better and our defense really held up for us,” he added.

Like Maliksi, Chris Banchero also came up with 16 points for Meralco, while Reynel Hugnatan added 11 markers.

On the other side, Jamie Malonzo paced NorthPort with 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists, while Robert Bolick had 15 markers, 8 boards, and 5 dimes.

The Scores

Meralco 97 – Black 20, Maliksi 16, Banchero 16, Hugnatan 11, Quinto 9, Jose 9, Newsome 7, Baclao 4, Pasaol 3, Hodge 2, Belo 0, Caram 0.

NorthPort 87 – Malonzo 21, Bolick 15, Santos 11, Ayaay 10, Calma 10, Balanza 9, Sumang 9, Dela Cruz 2, Apacible 0, Javier 0, Ferrer 0.

Quarters: 32-22, 56-37, 83-61, 97-87.

– Rappler.com