Meralco subdued Phoenix Super LPG, 91-80, to get back on track in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, Wednesday evening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Bolts gained footing in the second quarter, and even a slight delay late in the said period did not disrupt the momentum they earned to bounce back from their 72-85 defeat versus Rain or Shine four days ago.
Game was paused with 4:07 to go before the break and with the Orangemen up 33-26 due to a roof leakage brought about by the rains. League officials waited for a short while before deciding to go on with the match.
“I was a little bit concerned because the Commissioner [Willie Marcial] told us that if the game was stopped, then we would have to play the entire game all over again,” said head coach Norman Black postgame.
“And we were ahead by seven points, so I wasn’t too happy with that. But that’s the rules, so we would have had to abide by the rules. But luckily, the rain let up, and we were able to continue the game.”
Allein Maliksi spearheaded Meralco with 24 points and seven rebounds, as Chris Newsome finished with 23 points, seven assists, six steals, and four boards in the victory that hiked their record to 3-1.
The two, together with gunslinging guard Nard Pinto, were responsible in pushing the Bolts’ narrow lead after the slight delay to 46-28 with less than two minutes left before the half’s end through a 13-2 spurt.
Maliksi would go on to give Meralco its biggest lead of the game at 21, 84-63, with 6:03 remaining in the game.
“I think our team responded pretty well right after we resumed. I think we went on a nice little run and that was a good response to the situation. So either way, we just control what we can control,” Newsome offered.
Pinto and veteran big man Reynel Hugnatan made 11 points apiece in the victory that saw the Bolts spoil the Phoenix debut of Chris Banchero.
Coming off a calf injury he suffered in practice prior to the season, the 32-year-old only had one point, one rebound, and three assists in 28 minutes.
The Fuel Masters were led by Matthew Wright’s 29 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. The Fil-Canadian star tried to lead his team back late along with Vic Manuel. but they could only slice the deficit to just 10.
Manuel, meanwhile, had 13 points, while RJ Jazul added 12 markers as Phoenix lost for the third time in four outings.
Meralco and Phoenix will get back into action on Saturday, July 31. The Fuel Masters open the double-header versus Blackwater (0-4) at 2:00 p.m., followed by the Bolts’ meeting with Alaska (2-2) at 4:35 p.m.
Meralco 91– Maliksi 24, Newsome 23, Pinto 11, Hugnatan 11, Belo 9, Almazan 3, Hodge 7, Black 3, Quinto 0, Jackson 0, Canete 0, Jamito 0.
Phoenix 80– Wright 29, Manuel 13, Jazul 12, Perkins 9, , Chua 4 , Pascual, 4, Demusis 3, Garcia 3, Faundo 2, Banchero 1, Muyang 0, Melecio 0, Rios 0.
Quarterscores: 21-16, 48-32, 73-57, 91-80.