Continuing the heater they are on, the Meralco Bolts extended their win streak to seven and are now leading the Alaska Aces, 1-0, in their 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal clash following their 97-92 victory, Sunday evening at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
It feels really good to get the first win,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black, who will be celebrating his 61st birthday tomorrow, November 12. The PBA legend also noted that this is his first birthday win after two years.
Super import Allen Durham continues to be the Orangemen’s anchor, as he produced 32 points on an excellent 68 percent-shooting clip along with 14 rebounds, six assists, and a block in over 39 minutes of playing time.
“It’s really a blessing when you have one guy who can do it on both offense and defense,” lauded Black.
Chris Newsome was all over the place for Meralco as he pumped out 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Backcourt partner Baser Amer was in his element as well, as he made 14 markers, four boards, and three dimes.
The match was already deemed done when the Bolts overcame the Aces’ fightback from 16 down by responding with a 9-2 rally – ended by Reynel Hugnatan’s perfect charities – to widen their gap to 13, 91-78, with 1:47 left.
But then the Aces fought back gallantly once more. A Ping Exciminiano triple lifted them to within four, 96-92, but 1.2 seconds were obviously not enough. Amer then split his freebies to seal the deal and settle the final score.
Best Import award frontrunner Mike Harris led the Milkmen with 37 points and 18 rebounds. Chris Banchero supplied 16 points, four rebounds, and four feeds, while Vic Manuel provided 14 markers, five caroms, and three dimes.
Meralco will look to sustain their run and post a commanding 2-0 lead in their race-to-three series on Tuesday, November 13, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Meralco 97 – Durham 32, Newsome 16, Amer 14, Hugnatan 9, Caram 7, Faundo 6, Canaleta 6, Tolomia 5, Salva 2, Dillinger 0.
Alaska 92 – Harris 37, Banchero 16, Manuel 14, Casio 5, Enciso 5, Exciminiano 5, Teng 4, Pascual 4, Galliguez 2, Baclao 0, Racal 0, Thoss 0.
Quarterscores: 25-17, 47-34, 72-56, 97-92.