The Meralco Bolts have moved one step away from overcoming Phoenix’s twice-to-beat advantage in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals, as they defeated the Fuel Masters, 90-74, Wednesday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The Bolts took control of the match in the third quarter by pulling off an overwhelming 17-2 scoring spree – ended by an Allen Durham bucket – to turn a 43-all deadlock to a commanding 60-45 lead with 4:37 on the clock.
Allen Durham led the Orangemen with 26 points and 16 rebounds.
“Like what I always say, tonight’s about our defense,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black, as his wards were able to limit Phoenix to their lowest output this conference – the Fuel Masters averaged 106.1 points in the eliminations.
Moreover, this has been Meralco’s best defensive performance, as they had previously only limited their opponents to 94.0 points and no more than 88 in their last three games, as per the league’s stats chief Fidel Mangonon.
Allen Durham led the Orangemen with 26 points – 18 in the second half – and 16 rebounds. Chris Newsome provided 16 points, three caroms, and three assists, while Baser Amer produced 14 markers and a team-high six assists.
Import Eugene Phelps led the Fuel Masters with 27 points and 17 rebounds. Calvin Abueva was his only support with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
The Fuel Masters have equaled their lowest output in a game under head coach Louie Alas, which they recorded in a 74-72 win over the TNT KaTropa last February 7, in the 2018 PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bolts will have a chance to finish off the Fuel Masters on Friday, November 9, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. The winner of this series will face the winner between long-time rivals San Miguel Beermen and the Alaska Aces.
Meralco 90 – Durham 26, Newsome 16, Amer 14, Tolomia 9, Canaleta 9, Hugnatan 7, Salva 5, Dillinger 2, Faundo 2, Hodge 0, Ballesteros 0, Caram 0, Jamito 0.
Phoenix 74 – Phelps 27, Abueva 18, Perkins 9, Wright 8, Chua 6, Intal 4, Jazul 2, Revilla 0, Kramer 0, Wilson 0, Mendoza 0.
Quarterscores: 15-17, 33-35, 66-55, 90-74.
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