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PBA: Meralco holds off furious NLEX rally as Braimoh injury casts dark cloud on win


Chris Banchero saved Meralco from a massive meltdown at the hands of NLEX, 96-94, to get another winning streak going in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, Sunday evening at the Philsports Arena in Pasig.

The veteran guard sank the tie-breaking teardrop with 2.8 seconds left to play, before a turnover by Don Trollano and a split from the line by Bong Quinto proved enough for the Bolts to escape after squandering a 29-point lead.

Banchero finished with 15 points, spiked by three triples, as the crew won their second straight and rose to solo third in the standings with a 4-1 record.

But Meralco could not celebrate the victory as it lost import Su Braimoh heading into the game’s final four minutes due to an apparent Achilles injury.

The 34-year-old reinforcement hurt his left leg while trying to get past the defense of Sean Anthony, and was eventually aided to the team’s locker room. He exited the game with 38 points and eight rebounds.

“We’re worried about Su,” said coach Luigi Trillo. “He felt something in his Achilles. Su has been playing so well for us. It’s painful to see a guy like that — good character, I think he’s a perfect fit for us. Seeing him like that just hurts.”

Chris Newsome had 14 points while Quinto added 12 as they helped the Bolts avoid falling completely in panic mode after Braimoh’s exit.

Meralco will face NorthPort next Sunday, December 10, still at Philsports, with possibly a new import in tow as it braces for the worst on the Nigerian.

#ReadMore  PBA: Aaron Black ties career-high as Meralco deals Converge worst loss yet

Trollano, meanwhile, had 24 points for the Road Warriors, which fell to 2-4 in the standings after absorbing their second loss in a row.

The seasoned forward was responsible in sending the game into a 94-all tie through a gutsy three-pointer with 22.3 seconds left, but couldn’t complete his heroic deeds after turning the ball over in the final 1.6 of the game.

He was the logical choice of Coach Frankie Lim for the potential game-winner but Trollano was caught stepping out of bounds after catching the inbound.

Stokley Chaffee Jr., also had 24 points and eight rebounds in the loss. Anthony supplied 11 markers, five boards, and seven dimes.

NLEX will look to get back on track against Rain or Shine (1-5) on Friday, December 8, 4 p.m. still at the Philsports Arena.

The Scores:

Meralco 97 – Braimoh 38, Banchero 15, Newsome 14, Quinto 12, Almazan 6, Rios 5, Hodge 3, Dario 2, Jackson 2, Pasaol 0, Jose 0, Pascual 0, Bates 0.

NLEX 94 – Trollano 24, Chaffee 24, Semerad 11, Herndon 9, Anthony 8, Rosales 7, Nieto 4, Rodger 3, Miranda 2, Ganuelas-Rosser 2.

Quarterscores: 29-17, 54-34, 82-62, 97-94.

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