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Bolts electrify Painters late, surge to fourth straight win

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Coming alive late in the match, the Meralco Bolts notched an unprecedented 4-0 start with a 92-87 win over the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at the Araneta Coliseum.

After being down for much of the game and entering the final period at the wrong end of an 11-point deficit, the Bolts stymied the Painters’ attack and forced them into contested outside jumpers. Meralco wound up outscoring the Painters 30-14 in fourth quarter. Meralco import Josh Davis dominated the import matchup, leading all scorers with 31 points- 13 in the final period- while also inhaling 14 boards and nabbing four blocks.

Meralco kept the game close to start the second quarter, trailing the Painters by two points, 27-29. The pride of Tondo, Paul Lee unloaded back-to-back unanswered treys to kick off the second frame before colliding knees with Cliff Hodge and sitting out the rest of the quarter. Meralco remained scoreless in the quarter until Mike Cortez found a cutting Hodge for an easy layup to trim the Painters’ lead to six, 35-29. Lee’s replacement, Ryan Araña played marvelously in the period, scoring 10 of the Painters’ next 12 points, including a whirling drive at the end of the period. Two jumpers from Hodge kept the Bolts’ within two possessions, 41-47.

The Lee-thal weapon came into the game and drilled another trey to kick off the second half. A 6-0 Meralco run, capped by a Jared Dillinger fastbreak lay-in, trimmed the RoS lead to three, 50-47. Two Gabe Norwood free throws followed by a Raymond Alamazan top of the key jumper extended the Painters’ lead, 55-49. The Bolts’ import, Josh Davis began to attack the basket, plugging away at their opponents’ lead but the Painters answered each run with a long trey. Rain or Shine import Rick Jackson nailed six points late in the period to extend their lead to 11, 73-62.

The fourth quarter saw a furious comeback from the Bolts spearheaded by a bum-rushing Davis. Following a J.R. Quinahan trey, the Bolts went on a 17-2 run, powered by Davis who kept producing points off each drive either via layup or free throws, taking the lead at 80-78 with 7:15 remaining in the game. A long two from Ryan Araña knotted the game at 80 but the Painters just didn’t have an answer for the Bolts’ long and agile import. Davis went on to score seven more points, going 9-of-10 from the charity stripe in the final period. Physical defense from Meralco veteran Reynel Hugnatan frustrated Jackson, limiting him to four points- all off free throws- in the period while Rain or Shine’s shooters went cold from deep, with Norwood drilling the sole trey for the Painters.

Coming into the game leading the league in three-point shooting, the Bolts shot a paltry 4-0f-19 from downtown while the Painters drained 11 of their 26 attempts. Meralco made up for their anemic outside shooting by capitalizing on Rain or Shine’s 16 turnovers, scoring 20 points off of them while also dominating the paint with 42 points in the paint to RoS’ 32.

Jackson finished the game with 22 points on 8-of-19 shooting and 17 rebounds. Paul Lee hopped off the bench and contributed 12 points- all off treys- 10 boards and an assist. The Painters’ trio of local big men- Belga, Quinahan, and Cruz – had only a combined six points on 2-of-7 shooting and five rebounds.

The win marks Meralco’s fourth straight with no losses, the team’s best start since the franchise’s inception. The Painters drop to 2-2.

The scores:

Meralco – Davis 31, Cortez 13, David 11, Hodge 10, Anthony 8, Wilson 7, Dillinger 6, Hugnatan 4, Ferriols 2, Reyes 0, Atkins 0, Macapagal 0, Ildefonso 0,

RoS – Jackson 22, Lee 12, Chan 11, Araña 10, Norwood 9, Tang 7, Almazan 4, Uyloan 4, Quinahan 3, Belga 2, Ibañes 2, Cruz 2, Belga 1, Tiu 0

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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