MERALCO climbed back from a huge 21-point hole to stun TnT Katropa, 88-77, and get back on the winning track in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Astrodome on Wednesday.
The Bolts rode on the third-quarter shooting of Baser Amer and Chris Newsome to turn around a game where the Katropa led by as much as 30-9 in the second quarter.
Amer had 10 points and Newsome scored eight during that stretch to help Meralco take a five-point lead going to the final period.
Newsome finished with 20 and had nine rebounds and five assists while Amer added 17 for the Bolts, who evened their record at 2-2.
Three other players finished in double figures for the Bolts with Jared Dillinger contributing 16 points and Nico Salva and Ranidel de Ocampo adding 11 each. Cliff Hodge had five points and 13 rebounds for the Bolts.
The loss snapped the Katropa's two-game winning run as the team fell to a 2-3 mark.
"We just tried to hang in there and we tried to get into the halftime break with just a manageable deficit. And we were able to do that," said coach Norman Black afterwards.
"The fortunate thing was that it was in the beginning of the game, so we had a lot of time to recover. And it was good that our defense wasn't bad in the first half because if it was, then we could have gotten blown out in the first half."
Roger Pogoy and Jayson Castro ignited TnT's first-quarter explosion as the team jumped off to an early 21-pont lead. But Newsome and Ranidel de Ocampo kept the Bolts within nine points come halftime.
Castro scored 14 of his team-high 20 in the second period, and Roger Pogoy added 15 for the Katropa, who shot themselves in the foot in the final quarter when they only scored two points in the first seven minutes.
Veteran Kelly Williams only had a point but grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
Meralco (88) - Newsome 20, Amer 17, Dillinger 16, De Ocampo 11, Salva 11, Hodge 5, Canaleta 5, Caram 3, Pinto 0, Hugnatan 0, Tolomia 0, Jackson 0.
TnT Katropa (77) - Castro 20, Pogoy 15, Trollano 8, Taha 8, Reyes 7, Semerad 7, Heruela 6, Rosario 5, Williams 1, Carey 0, Miranda 0.
Quarterscores: 9-22; 30-39; 63-58; 88-77.