Two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap has finally joined the 10,000-point club, but the Meralco Bolts gatecrashed the party and played spoilers with an 89-73 win at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
With the victory, the Bolts are still sitting atop the standings with a clean 4-0 slate. The Elasto Painters, meanwhile, dropped to 1-2.
“Our defense didn’t really hold up in the beginning. So what we did in the second half was to come out aggressive and it worked for us,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black in the victory.
Allen Durham led the Orangemen with monster numbers of 23 points, 23 rebounds, and eight assists. Jared Dillinger supplied 16, while Reynel Hugnatan added 14 markers spiked by two triples.
After Yap’s historic triple with 49.3 ticks left in the third that inched Rain o Shine within distance, 64-61, the Bolts then pulled away late in the fourth, establishing a 12-point advantage, 81-69, after a Chris Newsome corner trey with 3:23 to go.
The Elasto Painters still tried to come back, 83-73, after Beau Belga’s charities with 1:41 left to play, but Meralco stepped on the gas and scored six straight — ended by a Durham lay-up — to lead by 16, 89-73, eventually posting the final result.
Newsome chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for the Bolts.
JD Weatherspoon paced Rain or Shine with 19 points on 18 shots alongside 13 boards and four blocks. Maverick Ahanmisi and Belga had 11 and 10, respectively.
Yap finished with seven markers on 3-of-13 shooting.
The Bolts will look to keep their place atop as they go up against Globalport next week, Sunday, August 6, at 6:45 PM, while Rain or Shine will look to bounce back versus Blackwater on the same day at 4:30 PM.
Meralco 89 – Durham 23, Dillinger 16, Hugnatan 14, Newsome 11, Amer 7, Lanete 6, Nabong 6, Hodge 4, Caram 2, Atkins 0, Chua 0, Daquioag 0 Faundo 0, Sedurifa 0, Yeo 0.
Rain or Shine 73 – Weatherspoon 19, Ahanmisi 11, Belga 10, Norwood 9 Almazan 8, Yap 7, Chan 6, Cruz 2, Tiu 1, King 0, Matias 0, Ponferada 0, Robles 0, Tolomia 0, Trollano 0, Washington 0.
Quarterscores: 14-23, 37-44, 68-61, 89-73.