Down by as much as double digits in the first half, the Meralco Bolts used a huge second half surge to comeback and stage an 87-72 win to complete the turnaround against the Blackwater Elites on Friday held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Macrus Douthit’s jumper was flawless early on as couple from the midrange gave the Elites a 9-2 edge. Blackwater limited the Bolts to a single basket within the first six minutes of action with their 2-3 zone playing a big part to its lead in the first quarter. While defensive pressure was tough in favor of Blackwater, Meralco had its two relatively easy shots in the paint as John Ferriols and Andre Emmett scored on uncontested buckets to trim the lead.
Unfortunately for the Bolts, Sunday Salvacion and Reil Cervantes swished in two triples at the dying seconds of the opening quarter that made it a ten-point game at 22-12. The Bolts also ended the first quarter shooting only 26% from the field.
The Elites held to their double-digit advantage during the second period, with Eddie Laure making his usual jump shots for his squad. The Bolts countered with a fast 8-0 surge including two three-point plays by Jared Dillinger to slice the lead down to 26-28. The run for Meralco was further extended with Douthit sitting down to take a breather.
Despite the Bolts tying the game a few times in the quarter, Blackwater salvaged some points to even grab the lead back in their favor. Just like the opening quarter, Bam Gamalinda and Val Acuña each drained a triple in the last two minutes as they regained a 39-32 lead while Meralco cooled down with their shots. At the half, the Elites were still in control with a five-point edge.
Meralco went on blitzing in the second half as they managed to rack up a 7-2 start with their good ball movement. Veteran Danny Ildefonso played a big part in the run with a smooth looking jumper and an assist, to once again make it a closely-contested game. Afterwhich, no team led by no more than four points in the next four minutes as both teams picked it up offensively.
Three pointers by Gary David and Andre Emmett were responded with underneath stabs by Eddie Laure and Byran Heruela. Blackwater then struggled with their turnovers as the Bolts started feel the momentum shift in their favor. David once again knocked down a trey while Cliff Hodge slammed one during the break to make it a 61-54 game. Eventually, the Bolts entered the last period with a seven-point lead as they outscored Blackwater by 12.
In the fourth period, it was Meralco’s turn to lead by ten points as Simon Atkins and Gary David scored to make it 71-61 for the Bolts. As the tale of two halves continued, Blackwater struggled with their shots in the pivotal fourth as they only had nine points in the first eight minutes. Meanwhile, Seiya Ando and the rest of the Bolts clicked on all cylinders as they erected an 83-67 gap against the rattled Elites. The second half turnaround was completed by Meralco as they left no chance for the Elites to make a comeback en route to their third in of the season.
The win gives Meralco a 3-3 slate while Blackwater drops to 1-5, still at the cellar of the standings.
Meralco outscored the Elites 17-0 in fast break and also dominated the paint battle, 46-22. In addition, they had more assists, 19-13 while also committing less turnovers, 8-17.
Meralco will next face Talk ‘N Text on June 2, 7pm at the Mall of Asia Arena while Blackwater’s next assignment will be up against Rain or Shine on the following day at the same venue.
Quarters: 12-22, 34-39, 63-56, 87-72