ANTIPOLO – NLEX hacked out its second straight victory after beating Meralco, 87-83, on Saturday in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center.
Poy Erram came up with a crucial defensive play late in the game, blocking a short stab by Ranidel De Ocampo.
Bong Galanza hit two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to ice the game and improve their record to 2-3 after losing three straight games to start the conference.
“We went through the eye of the needle,” said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao. “We had a hard-earned win today. We had to go through some ups and downs during the game. I look at it as a positive sign, winning in different ways.”
NLEX broke an 83-83 tie on split free throws by JR Quinahan and Marion Magat. With 11.9 seconds to work with, Meralco executed an inbounds play that saw De Ocampo with an open lane to the basket.
But Erram came out of nowhere to stop De Ocampo’s shot. The block was Erram’s fifth in the game to go with 12 points.
Quinahan had 16 points, while Galanza had 14, with the two combining for five of NLEX’s 11 triples.
Kevin Alas, however, missed the latter part of the fourth quarter due to knee pain after a lay-up over Jared Dillinger.
Dillinger had 16 points for Meralco, which dropped to 2-3.
A 15-minute delay occurred in the 2:57 mark in the fourth quarter due to power interruption.
NLEX 87 – Quinahan 16, Galanza 14, Alas 12, Erram 12, Rios 9, Magat 8, Porter 6, Fonacier 4, Paniamogan 2, Ighalo 2, Tallo 2, Soyud 0.
Meralco 83 – Dillinger 16, Newsome 15, Hugnatan 14, Caram 8, De Ocampo 8, Amer 7, Hodge 6, Canaleta 3, Faundo 2, Jackson 2, Salva 2, Tolomia 0, Pinto 0.
Quarterscores: 21-22; 34-37; 61-64; 87-83.