MERALCO pounced on an all-Filipino GlobalPort side, waltzing to a 100-93 victory to move on the verge of a Top Four berth in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Facing a Batang Pier side that not only was without an import, but also missing the services of Terrence Romeo, The Bolts slowly but surely built a lead and never looked back on the way to their eighth victory in 10 games.
Allen Durham stuffed the stats sheet again, posting a triple-double of 22 points, 22 boards, and 10 assists, while Chris Newsome led the locals with 28 points, seven boards, and five assists.
The undermanned Batang Pier put up a gallant stand, but wound up short as they finished their campaign at 3-8.
“These are the toughest games to coach,” Bolts coach Norman Black said. “I would actually prefer they had an import because at least my players would not be so relaxed and know they have to play really well to win.”
“But a win is a win,” the American mentor added. “It wasn’t pretty, but we got it.”
After all, the Bolts erected a lead as many as 24 points, but allowed the Batang Pier to make a late stand that saw them pull to within seven points that turned out to be the final score.
Reynel Hugnatan continued his steady play off the bench as he finished with 13 points and four boards in less than 15 minutes, scoring on a short jumper that gave their Bolts their biggest lead at 90-66 with seven minutes and 39 seconds left.
The Batang Pier, though, went down fighting as they finished the game on a 27-7 run for a respectable finish.
Sean Anthony led the late stand, scoring 14 of his 23 points in the final frame, and finishing with 13 boards, two assists, and one steal in 34 minutes.
MERALCO 100 – Newsome 28, Durham 22, Hugnatan 13, Hodge 10, Amer 9, De Ocampo 6, Tolomia 4, Lanete 3, Dillinger 3, Sedurifa 2, Caram 0, Nabong 0, Faundo 0
GLOBALPORT 93 – Anthony 23, Grey 16, Pringle 14, Guinto 14, Cardona 11, Baracael 5, Cortez 4, Mamaril 4, Arana 2, Hubalde 0, Celiz 0, Paredes 0
Quarterscores: 25-20, 51-42, 83-64, 100-93