A RELENTLESS Meralco pounced on NLEX’s late miscues as the Bolts frustrated the Road Warriors in overtime, 91-85, on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to clinch a semifinal berth in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The Bolts overhauled a 20-point third-quarter deficit then took advantage of the Road Warriors’ errors in the extra session to keep their sister team from extending the best-of-three to a deciding game.
That also enabled the Bolts to advance to the next round opposite top seed Rain or Shine.
“Our team played with a lot of guts in the second half,” said Bolts coach Norman Black, whose team forced the Road Warriors to 20 turnovers that translated into 17 points. “Our defense picked up.”
Gary David, limited to 12 points on 12 shots in the opener, went more aggressive this time as he scattered 31 points on 28 attempts, while import Josh Davis dominated anew with 25 points and 22 boards.
Two of David’s season-high scoring output was on a breakaway layup off a Cliff Hodge steal that knotted the count at 82 with 2:04 left in the payoff period and eventually forced overtime.
Mark Macapagal, who had a season-best 22 points in the first game, was scoreless in five minutes, but that hardly mattered as the Bolts found plenty of contribution from another veteran in Reynel Hugnatan.
The 36-year-old power forward chipped in 17 points, including two on a putback shot that gave the Bolts the lead for good at 86-85 with 2:31 to go in the extra session.
The basket in tight traffic was part of Meralco’s six unanswered points that allowed it to turn the game around after Asi Taulava converted a three-point play that gave the Road Warriors their last taste of the lead at 85-84.
Al Thornton poured in 32 points, but produced just two points in the fourth and overtime periods, and missed the turnaround fadeaway jumper that could’ve won the game for NLEX in regulation.
Meralco 91 – David 31, Davis 25, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 6, Cortez 4, Ferriols 4, Ildefonso 2, Caram 2, Reyes 0, Wilson 0, Anthony 0, Macapagal 0
NLEX 85 – Thornton 32, Raymundo 12, Villanueva J. 12, Taulava 10, Cardona 6, Villanueva E. 4, Canaleta 3, Borboran 3, Apinan 3, Lingganay 0, Ramos 0
Quarterscores: 20-17, 41-32, 66-53, 82-82, 91-85