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PBA: The answer? Lofton drops 54 as Meralco thrashes NorthPort

Zach Lofton may have just solved Meralco’s import situation after powering his side to a streak-busting win over NorthPort, 125-99, for their third successive win in the PBA Season 48 Commissioner’s Cup, Sunday at the Philsports Arena.

Brought in for the injured Su Braimoh, the conference’s smallest import turned in the biggest scoring performance of the tilt to date as he finished with 54 points on nine triple to lead the Bolts to solo third in the standings with a 5-1 card.

“I’m glad. I’m happy we have him now. We’ll have to talk to our coaching staff if we move forward with this. If you’re rolling, you’re rolling. You stay with it, right? We’ll find out in the next few days,” said head coach Luigi Trillo.

Lofton fired 36 in the middle quarters, including 20 in the third alone seeing them break the game wide open that left their spent foes without an answer.

The former Detroit Piston would breach the 50-point mark with a triple with 8:08 left in the game before being subbed out for good shortly after since he had done enough damage to a crew that played their third game in five days.

And as he checked out, Lofton would register the most points by an import in a PBA debut since Troy Williams had 55 for Blackwater in last season’s Governors’ Cup albeit in a loss to Terrafirma, per stats chief Fidel Mangonon III.

“Shout out to Su. He went down last game and I want to step up for the team and be the force that he was,” said the American guard, who stands at 6-foot-3 7/16. “I wanted to help them get the win and that’s what we did.”

Allein Maliksi supplied 18 points on a 70-percent clip. Raymond Almazan made 11 points and 15 rebounds. Chris Newsome added 11 as well.

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Meralco will turn its attention to Ryukyu in the EASL on December 13 in a duel set in Macau before shifting back its focus to the conference on the 17th, where it faces Converge at 3 p.m. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Fran Yu, on the other hand, finished with a conference-high 31 points to lead the Batang Pier, which saw their three-game winning streak come to an end.

The former Letran Knights star scored the most points by a rookie since Ato Ular’s 34 in a 91-89 win by the Bossing in the last Philippine Cup.

It was, furthermore, the most by a rookie in Batang Pier history since Terrence Romeo had 34 in a 114-110 win over Air21 in the 2014 Philippine Cup.

Arvin Tolentino had 25 points while JM Calma added 10 markers as the locals tried to pick it up with Venky Jois still hounded by.a hamstring injury. The Australian bruiser only had nine points and nine rebounds.

Jois actually started well when he scored six in the first quarter to help NorthPort to a 25-16 lead but he couldn’t sustain as much due to the injury. His team slowly lost the edge as Lofton and Co. got into their groove.

The Batang Pier (5-3) will finally get themselves a bit of a breather as they won’t play until December 20 against the current two-seed Phoenix Super LPG (6-1) at the SMART Araneta Coliseum. Game time is at 4 p.m.

The Scores:

Meralco 125 – Lofton 54, Maliksi 18, Newsome 11, Almazan 11, Banchero 8, Quinto 8, Bates 6, Dario 2, Pasaol 2, Hodge 2, Torres 0, Pascual 0, Rios 0.

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NorthPort 99 – Yu 31, Tolentino 25, Calma 10, Jois 9, Paraiso 8, Amores 5, Munzon 5, Chan 2, Caperal 2, Ayaay 2, Taha 0, Salado 0, Flores 0.

Quarterscores: 16-25, 49-48, 92-64, 125-99.

Written By

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

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