MERALCO picked up from where it left off in its matchup against TNT Katropa, frustrating the Texters, 98-87, on Friday night to build momentum in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
After eliminating the Texters in four games in the last Governors’ Cup semifinals, the Bolts continued their recent mastery of their sister team, leaning on a late push to earn their second straight win after starting the season with a loss.
“But I don’t get hung up on that. I don’t look at we’ve had their number,” Bolts coach Norman Black insisted after his team snapped the Texters’ two-game winning streak, dropping their victims to an even 2-2 win-loss record.
The result, which left Rain or Shine as the solo leader at 3-1, was also enough for the Bolts to already double their winning total in the last edition of the all-Filipino conference where they lost all but one of their 11 games.
Ed Daquioag continued to show maturity beyond his years as the rookie playmaker equaled his early high of 23 points, including 10 in the fourth, on top of our boards, two steals, and one assist to lead the Bolts.
Six more Bolts scored at least nine points apiece in a balanced effort for the Bolts.
Cliff Hodge scored all his nine points in the final frame, including six on back-to-back three-pointers that gave the Bolts a nine-point cushion enough to take the fight out of the Texters.
But Black was more impressed of his team’s defense that limited Ranidel de Ocampo to just nine points on nine shots, leaving Jayson Castro carrying most of the scoring load with 23 markers.
“I thought it was extraordinary end exceptional the way we played defense,” the champion coach said. “It was a big win for us against a strong Talk ‘N Text team, and we did it on the defensive end.”
Kelly Williams also shouldered more of the TNT load, finishing with 19 points and eight boards in 23 minutes off the bench.
MERALCO 98 – Daquioag 23, Al-Hussaini 14, Hugnatan 11, Newsome 11, Nabong 10, Amer 9, Hodge 9, Caram 6, Yeo 4, Grey 1, Faundo 0, Chua 0
TNT 87 – Castro 23, Williams 19, De Ocampo 9, Pogoy 9, reyes 9, Tautuaa 6, Rosser 5, Rosario 4, Fonacier 3, Carey 0, Rosales 0
Quarterscores: 26-23, 45-45, 75-69, 98-87