MERALCO leaned on a strong second-half fightback to beat expansion team Blackwater, 87-72 and climb back into the middle of the standings in the PBA Governors Cup on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Gary David, who averaged just 8.6 points in his first five games this conference, fired eight of his 16 points in a critical third-quarter blitz that enabled Meralco to overhaul an early 12-point deficit.
However, it was a solid interior defense which set the stage for the Bolts’ third win in six starts.
Sean Anthony banged in 10 points and added six rebounds, but more importantly, helped contain Blackwater import Marcus Douthit to a quiet 15 points and eight rebounds.
“It was a good job from Sean Anthony defensively, especially going up against a big defensive player in Douthit,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We tried to keep him out of the paint as much as possible.”
The Bolts took a huge 17-0 advantage in fastbreak points. Meralco’s better ball movement also produced 19 assists while its stifling defense yielded nine steals.
“We have much better balance today on offense. We have a lot of players who stepped up offensively,” Black added, citing fit-again Jared Dillinger, David, Anthony and Cliff Hodge.
American import Andre Emmett led the Bolts with 17 points and 12 rebounds, while Dillinger added 12 and eight boards.
Rookie Brian Heruela scored 12 points to become the only local player to score in double-figures for Blackwater, which slipped to last place with its 1-5 record.