MAHINDRA put up a late fireworks display to start the New Year as it blasted Meralco, 105-92, on Wednesday night to pick up from where it left off in 2016 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Floodbuster caught fire from long distance, bombarding the Bolts with a franchise-record 21 three-pointers to coast to the victory - a fitting follow-up to their first win of the season on Christmas Day.
Philip Paniamogan typified the hot shooting, knocking down seven treys on the way to a career-high 25 points, while Alex Mallari continued his all-around play for the Floodbuster, who improved to a 2-5 win-loss record.
The Bolts reeled to a fifth straight defeat as they replaced the Floodbuster at the bottom of the 12-team standings at 2-6.
“Our guys who have really been buying in to our system,” Mahindra coach Chris Gavina said. “The commitment and hard work in preparation all came together today.”
Gavina, whose team shot 51 percent from the field overall, dedicated the win to Mahindra consultant Joe Lipa and his wife, who recently came out of the hospital, but still is in an ongoing battle with a cancer.
Paniamogan, an undrafted sophomore guard, registered his entire output in the last three quarters, missing just two of his nine three-point tries, while adding two conversions inside the arc to reach his total in just 20 minutes where he also had two assists and one board.
Mallari chipped in 13 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds, leading six other Floodbuster who scored at least eight points apiece for the team that led by as many as 17 points in the first half.
The result spoiled another solid effort from Reynel Hugnatan, who registered 28 points, six boards, and one block to lead the Bolts in a losing effort.
MAHINDRA 105 – Paniamogan 25, Mallari 13, Deutchman 13, Salva 13, Digregorio 11, Escoto 10, Yee 8, Elorde 4, Ballesteros 3, Arana 3, Revilla 2, Celda 0, Nimes 0, Eriobu 0, Teng 0
MERALCO 92 – Hugnatan 28, Newsome 19, Amer 12, Faundo 9, Uyloan 8, Daquioag 6, Grey 3, Caram 2, Chua 2, Nabong 2, Hodge 1, Buenafe 0
Quarterscores: 25-24, 52-42, 73-64, 105-92