ANTIPOLO – Meralco returned to its winning ways by beating Blackwater, 106-97, on Friday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center.
Allen Durham and Raymond Almazan posted double-doubles as the Bolts solidified their hold of fourth place in the team standings on a 4-2 (win-loss) record.
The Bolts also got their three-point shooting going in the final quarter to maintain a safe gap between them and the Elite, who tumbled to their fourth loss in six matches.
Durham tallied 27 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks while Almazan added 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks to give the Bolts firm control of the paint.
Baser Amer scored 10 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, hitting two of the Bolts’ five three-pointers in the period. Meralco only made two threes in the first three quarters.
“The goal is to try to take advantage of the format which is top four teams getting twice-to-beat,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
“We are trying to stay in the top four. It’s very difficult because NLEX has been winning and of course, you have San Miguel, Ginebra, and Talk ‘N Text there.”
Meralco went on an 8-0 run to pad its lead to 37-32, and was able to protect it until the final buzzer.
After treys by John Pinto and Bong Quinto, Amer hit a three to pad Meralco’s lead to 11, 99-88 with 4:03 left in the game, before sealing the win with another three, 106-92.
Nino Canaleta also came up big for the Bolts, finishing with 13 points, all coming in the second period.
Mike DiGregorio had 22 points to lead six Blackwater players in double figures. But it still wasn't enough for the Elite, who were coming off an upset win over reigning champion Magnolia last Wednesday.
Meralco 106 – Durham 27, Almazan 19, Amer 17, Canaleta 13, Newsome 8, Quinto 8, Pinto 7, Faundo 3, Caram 2, Hugnatan 2.
Blackwater 97 – DiGregorio 22, Blakely 15, Parks 12, Maliksi 12, Al-Hussaini 11, Belo 10, Cortez 4, Cruz 3, Alolino 2, Sumang 2, Sena 2, Desiderio 2.
Quarters: 22-20; 56-50; 80-74; 106-97.