ANTiPOLO CITY - Meralco rode on the hot shooting of Nico Salva and the gutsy plays of rookie Trevis Jackson to survive a gritty Blackwater comeback, 99-94, and break into the win column of the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday night.
Salva scored eight of the Bolts' last 11 points including six straight in the stretch run to help the Bolts even their record at 1-1. The former Ateneo standout finished with 14 points and had 12 of his out in the final quarter.
Jackson, the fifth overall pick in the last draft, also shone for the Bolts as he led the team with 19 points and was 5-of-8 from three-point range.
"I'm happy with the win. It's nice to get into the win column for the new year," said coach Norman Black.
"Nico Salva came up with big shots in the fourth quarter that gave us the opportunity to separate from them in the endgame,"
The Meralco coach also had some nice words for his prized rookie.
"Trevis Jackson who made a lot of outside shots for us and helped us open up their defense," said Black of Jackson.
Four other players scored in double figures for the Bolts led by the 14 of Mike Tolomia, Baser Amer (13), Cliff Hodge (12), and Reynel Hugnatan (10).
Despite the team effort, the Bolts still needed Salva's clutch shooting in the homestretch as Blackwater rallied back from as much as a 64-73 deficit to take a 76-73 lead in the final 7:25 mark,
The game was tied at 78 when Jackson hit his final trey for the game before Salva began to take over the game.
Allein Maliksi led four other players to finish in double figures for the Elite, who unfortunately suffered their second straight loss.
Maliksi finished with 17 points, Roi Sumang added 16, and Raymar Jose had a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds, but committed a turnover in the final 12 seconds that put the fight out of the Elite.
Meralco (99) - Jackson 18, Tolomia 15, Salva 14, Amer 13, Hodge 12, Hugnatan 10, Caram 7, De Ocampo 6, Newsome 3, Faundo 0, Dillinger 0, Quinto 0.
Blackwater (94) - Maliksi 17, Sumang 16, Jose 15, Belo 12, Digregorio 11, Tratter 8, Javier 8, Dario 3, Desiderio 2, Palma 2, Alolino 0.
Quarterscores: 16-25; 48-42; 73-64;99-94.