CLIFF Hodge missed a potential game-winning shot just before the buzzer as Meralco settled for an 83-all standoff against powerhouse San Miguel Beer at the continuation of the PBA Liga ng Bayan preseason game on Saturday at the Blue Eagles gym in Ateneo.
The Bolts actually got a break when June Mar Fajardo's intended pass to Marcio Lassiter was intercepted by Reynel Hugnatan.
But the Beermen held their ground on defense in the final play, preventing the high-leaping Hodge from scoring inside.
The deadlock allowed Meralco to remain unbeaten after seven games in the offseason.
The Bolts previously won their first six preseason matches, but new coach Norman Black downplayed the team's stellar play this early.
"We're still a work in progress, but it's just a preseason game," said Black in a brief response after the win.
Fajardo marked his return from his stint with Gilas by finishing with 19 points, while Chris Lutz added 15.
Gary David led Meralco with 18 markers, John Wilson chipped in 17, while Simon Atkins had 13 for the Bolts, who are looking to improve on their 14-game win total last season.
San Miguel (83) -- Fajardo 19, Lutz 15, Lassiter 14, Chua 8, Mercado 6, Hubalde 5, Tubid 5, Omolon 5, Ross 4, Maierhofer 2.
Meralco (83) -- David 18, Wilson 17, Atkins 13, Hodge 11, Anthony 9, Hugnatan 9, Morrison 4, Dillinger 2, Sena 0, Caram 0, Ferriols 0.
Quarterscores: 13-24; 35-39; 68-70; 83-83.