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PBA: Comebacking Caram, Meralco dampen Rosario’s return with 26-point beatdown

ANTIPOLO – Anjo Caram and Allein Maliksi took turns in steering Meralco back to the win column of the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup following a 125-99 beatdown of Blackwater, Saturday night at the Ynares Center here.

Caram fired 16 points in the first half to help the Bolts establish a 67-50 lead at the break, before Maliksi came through in the last 24 minutes by unloading 24 markers to make sure his side would finish the game strongly.

The diminutive playmaker finished with 18 points in his return from an ankle injury, while the veteran gunner ended up with a career second-best 30.

“I give credit to the second group, especially Anjo Caram. Kakabalik niya lang from layoff, injury. Bumalik siya, nag-give siya ng energy sa second group. Doon nagkaroon ng separation ‘yung team namin,” said Maliksi.

KJ McDaniels flirted with a triple-double in the win as he finished with 24 points, 15 rebounds, and eight assists, together with two steals and a block.

Aaron Black contributed 19 points, three rebounds, and seven assists, while Chris Newsome chipped in 12 markers, three boards, and three dimes for Meralco, who shot an impressive 55.7-percent from the floor.

The Bolts improved to 3-1, redeeming themselves as well from the shock loss to Juami Tiongson and Terrafirma last January 28 in the same venue.

“We just focused on this game. We can’t really worry about what happened in the last game except for worry about what’s going to happen tonight,” said head coach Norman Black. “The guys came in focused.”

Meralco will now gear up for a tough sked ahead, where it will face San Miguel on February 9 (Thursday) and then TNT on the 17th (Friday).

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“We have two of the toughest teams coming up,” Black said. “We only have one loss between the two of them, so the one thing I will say about my team, is we can lose to Terrafirma, but we can also beat the best teams in the league.”

Blackwater, meanwhile, was led by the departing Shawn Glover, who finished with 20 points and seven rebounds in his last game with the Bossing as he’s set to be replaced by former NBA cager Troy Williams.

RK Ilagan had 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Baser Amer made 14 points, while JVee Casio provided 13 markers in the crushing 26-point decimation that spoiled the return of Troy Rosario.

Three months out due to plantar fasciitis, the veteran forward still finished with 11 points on 3-of-9 shooting, six rebounds, and three assists.

Blackwater still tried to give Rosario a fitting welcome when it rallied and got to within just seven twice behind Ilagan and James Sena early in the final frame, but Black and McDaniels led a 10-0 Meralco run to restore order.

The Bossing, now at 1-3, will look to snap out of a two-game funk against the Dyip also on Thursday, 4:30 p.m., at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Meralco 125 – Maliksi 30, McDaniels 24, Black 19, Caram 18, Newsome 12, Pascual 6, Banchero 5, Almazan 4, Quinto 3, Hodge 2, Pasaol 2, Hugnatan 0.

Blackwater 99 – Glover 20, Ilagan 15, Amer 14, Casio 13, Rosario 11, Ular 8, Sena 6, Ayonayon 4, DiGregorio 4, Torralba 2, Taha 2, Banal 0, McCarthy 0, Hill 0.

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Quarterscores: 31-22, 67-50, 91-78, 125-99

The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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