MERALCO survived a late explosion from Matthew Wright to outlast Phoenix, 103-100, in an overtime thriller in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts rode the heroics of Baser Amer and KG Canaleta to dominate play in regulation but had to endure an outburst from Wright, who drained a tough three-pointer to send the game into overtime before scoring the Fuel Masters' first eight points in the extension.
Amer's acrobatic lay-up gave the Bolts a 101-98 lead with 1:18 to go before Jeff Chan trimmed the lead back down to one with a jumper inside the lane, time down to 30 seconds.
The Fuel Masters had a chance to take the lead but Wright missed the most important shot of the night on a tough fallaway, allowing Cliff Hodge to put the finishing touches to the Bolts' win with two free throws.
"I told the players before the game that this is gonna be a tough game because Phoenix has been playing good basketball. They don't quit and they are always competitive. We got exactly what we expected tonight," said Meralco coach Norman Black.
"We had a chance to win the game in regulation and we couldn't make the foul shots again. I told the players, it's my fault, it's your fault, it's everybody's fault. Now what are we gonna do? I think everybody was in agreement that we'll give our best shot to try and win," he added.
Canaleta turned back the hands of time to finish with 30 points anchored on six three-pointers off the bench and lead the Bolts to their fifth win against two losses.
Amer added 19 points as Arinze Onuaku racked up a triple-dobule with 12 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists.
Eugene Phelps returned to his dominant ways for the Fuel Masters as he finished with 31 points and 26 rebounds, but he was hardly a factor down the stretch as the Fuel Masters suffered their fourth loss in seven games.
The loss laid to waste impressive games by Wright and rookie Jason Perkins.
Wright finished with 28 points on 6-of-10 shooting from downtown while Perkins added 23 points and eight rebounds.
Meralco 103 - Canaleta 30, Amer 19, Onuaku 12, Newsome 11, Dillinger 8, Caram 7, De Ocampo 5, Lanete 5, Hugnatan 4, Hodge 2
Phoenix 100 - Phelps 32, Wright 28, Perkins 23, Chan 9, Revilla 3, Jazul 3, Chua 2, Intal 1, Wilson 0, Kramer 0, Mendoza 0
Quarterscores: 20-18, 52-44, 68-72, 90-90 (OT) 103-100