MERALCO refused to get bullied by sister squad NLEX anew as it hacked out a 101-95 victory on Wednesday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts, who have lost to the Road Warriors, the youngest franchise in the MVP group, in recent meetings, restored order in their sibling rivalry as they proved steadier down the stretch to pull off their second straight win - and fifth overall in eight games.
Allen Durham put up another solid outing of 31 points, 17 boards, and five assists, but the do-it-all import also drew plenty of help from the locals, particularly Baser Amer, who scored all his seven points inside the last two minutes.
As a result, the Bolts, bucking the absence of Jimmy Alapag, who was out with a minor calf injury, stopped the Road Warriors’ two-game winning streak as their victims fell below .500 with a 3-4 win-loss record.
“This was a really good team effort on our part today,” Bolts coach Norman Black said. “Allen Durham was again the best player, but we got a lot of contributions from a lot of people. And we needed all of that against NLEX.”
The Bolts banked on an 11-1 run, including seven unanswered points, capped by an Amer three-pointer from the left wing with exactly a minute left that gave them enough cushion to prevail against the Road Warriors.
Cliff Hodge, Jared Dillinger, Kelly Nabong, and Chris Newsome also scored key baskets in the endgame that kept the Road Warriors at bay and spoiled their opponent’s comeback led by Bill Walker, who scored 11 of his 38 points in the payoff period.
The NBA veteran scored on a triple that tied the game at 84, before the Bolts made that backbreaking run.
MERALCO 101 – Durham 31, Hodge 17, Dillinger 12, Nabong 12, Newsome 12, Faundo 10, Amer 7, Buenafe 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0
NLEX 95 – Walker 38, Anthony13, Monfort 12, Taulava 10, Khobuntin 8, Baracael 4, Akl 3, Arboleda 3, Alas 2, Reyes 2, Soyud 0, Villanueva E. 0
Quarterscores: 22-19, 44-36, 70-66, 101-95