May 20, 2024

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Meralco Bolts tighten hold on eighth spot after 82-76 win over Phoenix Super LPG

4 min read
EIGHTH SPOT. The Meralco Bolts eke out an 82-76 win over the Phoenix Super LPG, ending their two-game skid and solidifying hold on the eighth spot in the PBA Philippine Cup standings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, April 26. PBA PHOTO

Meralco emerged victorious against Phoenix Super LPG with an 82-76 win, snapping their two-game losing streak and solidifying their hold on the eighth spot in the PBA Philippine Cup standings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday, April 26.

Aaron Black led all scorers with 18 points, providing a crucial offensive spark for Meralco. However, it was timely baskets from Allein Maliksi and Chris Banchero, along with clutch free throws from Bong Quinto down the stretch, that allowed the Bolts to fend off the persistent Fuel Masters and secure a pivotal victory.

With a renewed sense of urgency, Meralco now boasts a 4-5 record and sets its sights on crucial matchups against Magnolia and San Miguel Beer to strengthen its playoff position.

Coach Luigi Trillo expressed relief after thwarting Phoenix’s resilient efforts, acknowledging the significance of every game in the tight playoff race. “Both teams’ backs are against the wall, and something’s gotta give. You lose one, you’re probably out of it already,” said Trillo.

The victory was somewhat bittersweet for Meralco as key players Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge exited the game due to knee injuries in the dying seconds. Both players are set to undergo further evaluation, adding uncertainty to Meralco’s postseason aspirations.

On the other hand, Phoenix fought valiantly despite the setback, with RR Garcia and Kenneth Tuffin leading a late charge to narrow the gap to 72-75. However, crucial turnovers and clutch plays by Meralco’s veterans proved decisive in the game’s closing moments.

Meralco capitalized on key steals and conversions, including Maliksi’s steal and layup to extend the lead to 77-72, followed by Banchero’s pull-up jumper to maintain a comfortable advantage.

Bong Quinto sealed the victory for Meralco with clutch free throws, countering Phoenix’s late surge and securing the final scoreline.

The loss dropped Phoenix to a 3-7 record, keeping them in the 11th spot and adding pressure to their remaining games against Blackwater next Saturday.

Coach Jamike Jarin commended his team’s resilience and effort but acknowledged the challenges ahead in the playoff race.

In the end, Meralco’s hard-earned victory underscores the intensity and competitiveness of the PBA Philippine Cup, where every game is crucial in determining playoff berths. As the regular season winds down, Meralco looks to build on this momentum while Phoenix seeks to bounce back and keep their playoff hopes alive in the remaining games.

The boxscores:

Meralco 82 – Black 18, Newsome 15, Banchero 14, Maliksi 13, Hodge 6, Caram 6, Bates 4, Almazan 3, Quinto 3, Pasaol 0, Torres 0, Pascual 0.

Phoenix 76 – Tuffin 14, Salado 12, Jazul 9, Rivero 9, Mocon 7, Garcia 6, Perkins 5, Muyang 4, Verano 4, Alejandro 3, Soyud 3, Daves 0, Camacho 0.

Quarterscores: 24-21, 34-38, 60-53, 82-76

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