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Amer, Durham conspire as Meralco sets semis clash with Star



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Amer, Durham conspire as Meralco sets semis clash with Star Basketball News PBA  PBA Season 42 Norman Black Mike DiGregorio Meralco Bolts Leo Isaac JP Erram Jared Dillinger Henry Walker Garvo Lanete Blackwater Elite Baser Amer Allen Durham Allein Maliksi 2017 PBA Governors Cup

Baser Amer and an ailing Allen Durham were the spark that the Meralco Bolts needed to repel an upset-hungry Blackwater Elite, 104-96, in the 2017 Governor’s Cup Quarterfinals, Thursday night at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

With the win, the Orangemen are now the third team to reach the semifinals and will face the Star Hotshots in a best-of-five affair.

“My guys showed a lot of heart in this game,” lauded Meralco coach Norman Black. “We were down at the half, and we had to find direction for the team. We were having a hard time defending Henry Walker, who lit us up with 27 markers.

“Got to give credit to Ranidel De Ocampo for slowing Walker down,” Black added, singing praises of the veteran swingman, who limited Walker to just seven markers in the second half en route to a 34-point outing.

Amer sizzled for 31 points — 22 in the second half — on 65 percent shooting on top of four rebounds and three assists. Durham, who had sprained his ankle with 7:05 in the final quarter, finished with 18 points, 20 rebounds, and nine dimes.

“If it weren’t for Baser, I don’t think we could have won the game,” said Black. “Credit too to AD (Allen Durham) for coming back despite being hurt.”

The eighth-ranked Elite were poised to take down the top-seeded Bolts after taking a 52-40 lead at the half. However, the Orangemen made several adjustments — especially on the defensive end — come the next half and they paid off greatly.

With the game tied at 84 with 9:04 remaining in the final frame, Meralco erupted in an Amer-led 11-4 surge — capped by Jared Dillinger’s triple from the top of the key — to post a favorable 95-88 advantage with 6:31 to go.

From there, the Bolts sustained the upper hand the rest of the way. They scored five straight points after Mike Di Gregorio’s trey to post a 104-94 lead with 1:30 to go — more than enough to put Blackwater away for good.

Garvo Lanete displayed excellent shooting with 75 percent to provide 17 points for Meralco. Dillinger scored all of his 15 from the outside, while De Ocampo nearly had a double-double with 14 points and eight boards.

The exiting Elite, aside from Walker, received contributions from JP Erram with 18 points and nine boards, and Di Gregorio with 11. Allein Maliksi still finished with 10 points despite shooting just 3-of-11 from the field.

Meralco shot 47 percent from the floor, dishing out 25 assists in the process. Their bench, moreover, supplied 31 points to their total.

The Bolts-Hotshots semifinal series will start on Sunday, October 1, 6:30 PM at the Alonto Sports Arena in Biñan, Laguna.

The Scores:

Meralco 104 – Amer 31, Durham 18, Lanete 17, Dillinger 15, De Ocampo 14, Newsome 7, Hodge 2, Tolomia 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Nabong 0.

Blackwater 96 – Walker 34, Erram 18, DiGregorio 11, Maliksi 10, Canaleta 6, Marcelo 6, Belo 5, Sumang 4, Pinto 2.

Quarterscores: 22-22; 52-40; 77-73; 104-96.