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Meralco hangs on against Mahindra to keep twice-to-beat hopes alive


As the 2016 PBA Governor’s Cup reaches its final week of elimination games, the Meralco Bolts survived a scare from the Mahindra Enforcers, 86-83, on a thrilling Sunday night game at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The win gives the Bolts a 6-5 record to end their single-round elimination phase and earned at least a playoff game for the fourth spot with the victor having a twice-to-beat edge heading into the playoffs.

Allen Durham played a fantastic game in helping the Bolts towards this win. The import finished with 34 points and 17 rebounds, to go along with three shot blocks, as they accomplish their goal of getting this much-needed win.

“Coming to this game, we knew we had to beat Mahindra in order to reach the top four,” said the Michigan native.

“It was a hard-fought game. We handled our business tonight and everybody needs to tighten it up if we have to make a run for the championship.”

True enough, the Bolts hung on after a near-meltdown late against a furious fourth quarter surge by Mahindra. Meralco held a 13-point lead in the third period, but saw the cushion evaporate by the minute.

By the 5:20 mark of the last quarter, Mahindra successfully tied the match and even took the lead afterwards for the first time since the opening frame. An exchange of clutch baskets from both sides was capped by a driving layup by Durham with 31 seconds left, to lift the advantage back in their favor, 84-83.

A frantic finish produced several turnovers for both teams, while Aldrech Ramos and James White missed key baskets late on. Meralco, on the other hand, used two big free throws from their import with a second left, leaving no time for Mahindra to make a comeback.

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Jarred Dillinger had 12 points and eight boards off the bench to aid Durham. For Mahindra, James White had 27 markers and 12 boards on 10-of-19 shooting. Ramos chipped in 17 points and nine rebounds.

Meralco committed more turnovers at 20-16, which led to a 27-14 advantage in terms of points off miscues. However, nine more makes from the foul stripe by the Bolts, 27-of-39, compared to Mahindra’s 18-of-29, spelled the difference in the tight contest.

Despite a hot start to the conference, the Enforcers absorbed a third straight setback and ended with a similar 6-5 slate. They now await the results of the upcoming games to decide their opponents in the quarterfinals.

The Scores:

Meralco (86) – Durham 34, Dillinger 12, Newsome 10, Hugnatan 9, Alapag 7, Amer 4, Hodge 3, Uyloan 3, Faundo 2, Nabong 2, Al-Hussaini 0

Mahindra (83) – White 27, Ramos 17, Revilla 12, Yee 9, Taha 8, Aguilar 4, Guinto 2, Digregorio 2, Agovida 2, Mandani 0, Webb 0, Galanza 0, Bagatsing 0, Ballesteros 0, De Vera 0

Quarterscores: 25-22, 50-45, 71-62, 86-83

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