MERALCO reached the semifinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup after eliminating Alaska, 94-84, on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Allen Durham completed a double-double while Allein Maliksi pitched in with key baskets in a fourth-quarter run for the Bolts, who enjoyed twice-to-beat advantage in the playoff but needed just one game to end Alaska's season.
The second-seed Bolts led by as many as 22 points and overcame a rally by the seventh-ranked Aces to move on to a best-of-five semifinal against either TnT KaTropa or Magnolia.
Durham tallied 28 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, and two blocks, while Maliksi added 23 points while going 4-of-8 from beyond the three-point arc for the Bolts.
“It was really a tough game. A lot of credit has to go to the way Alaska fought tonight. There were times in the game that I thought we had control but that didn’t really seem to be the case because Alaska fought back and were able to get us a scare in the end,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
The Bolts ended the first quarter holding a 29-12 lead. Durham buried a basket for a 49-27 lead in the second, the biggest in the lead.
The Aces came to within three points, 61-58, on a trey by Simon Enciso in the third but Durham and Maliksi combined for 15 points in the fourth to put the game away.
JVee Casio scored 20 points while Enciso added 16 as the Aces’ resurgence in their first conference under new head coach Jeff Cariaso came to an end.
Meralco 94 – Durham 28, Maliksi 23, Newsome 17, Almazan 8, Amer 6, Faundo 4, Caram 4, Hodge 2, Quinto 2, Pinto 0.
Alaska 84 – Casio 20, Enciso 16, House 11, Manuel 9, Tratter 7, Herndon 5, Ayaay 5, Thoss 4, Racal 3, Galliguez 0, Brondial 0.
Quarters: 29-12; 49-33; 73-63; 94-84.