The Meralco Bolts put on the clamps and stopped the Alaska Aces’ seven-game winning streak, 89-74, to gain a share of the second spot of the 2018 Commissioner’s Cup standings, Sunday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Both the Bolts and the Aces are now carrying similar 7-2 records.
“We went into this game today knowing it’s gonna be tough. I told the players before the game that something had to give, with Alaska going to this game scoring 108 points a game and we only gave up 87,” said coach Norman Black.
“I expressed to the players that something’s gonna give here, we’ll either have a good defensive game or they’ll have a good offensive game,” Black added. “Now that we’re able to beat Alaska, we can focus on that (top two).”
Six Orangemen scored in double figures, with Chris Newsome on top with 17 points with eight assists. Baser Amer had 17 points and six dimes, and Jared Dillinger scored 17 as well. Arinze Onuaku had 14 and 23 rebounds.
The Bolts made it a one-sided affair in the third canto. They first led by 10, 59-49, at the 5:23 mark, and they continued their offensive surge through an 11-4 run — ended by Onuaku’s lay-up — to post a commanding 70-53 lead with 1:34 left.
The Aces, as usual, raced back in the fourth quarter. Thanks to Vic Manuel being assertive on offense by scoring eight straight, the Milkmen were able to cut the lead down to just eight, 73-65, with 9:31 on the clock.
However, the game just couldn’t go in Alaska’s way as they missed their shots. The Bolts then took advantage of such, and an 11-0 run by them gave them an 84-65 edge with 6:42 left, which they held on the rest of the way.
“Our defense was exceptional tonight. In addition tonight, we had really good balanced scoring on the offensive end, a lot of guys contributed offensively,” said Black. “Good team effort for us.”
Antonio Campbell had 25 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Aces.
Manuel, meanwhile, was the silver lining in the loss, as he had stretched his personal 20-point scoring streak to eight games as he produced 22 points on a 50 percent-shooting clip. The power forward also hauled down eight boards.
As per the league’s chief statitician Fidel Mangonon, Manuel’s eight-game streak is the longest streak of a local player since Terrence Romeo had nine in a row for the GlobalPort Batang Pier back in the 2016 Philippine Cup.
Meralco will next face sister team TNT Katropa on Friday, June 22, 7:00 PM, while Alaska will battle rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel next Sunday, June 24, at 6:45 PM. Both games are still at the Big Dome.
Meralco 89 – Newsome 18, Dillinger 17, Amer 17, Onuaku 14, Canaleta 11, De Ocampo 10, Hugnatan 2, Hodge 0, Caram 0, Lanete 0.
Alaska 79 – Campbell 25, Manuel 22, Banchero 13, Casio 5, Thoss 4, Pascual 3, Enciso 2, Racal 0, Exciminiano 0, Baclao 0.
Quarterscores: 23-19, 41-40, 73-57, 89-74.