MERALCO outplayed Rain or Shine in the final canto for a 91-82 victory on Sunday, extending its win streak to three and keeping alive its flickering hopes of getting into the playoff round of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Governors’ Cup.
Last year’s Best Import Allen Durham sparked Meralco’s 16-3 run, breaking a 74-all deadlock in the payoff period to build a 90-77 lead with less than two minutes left enroute to a win that improved the Bolts’ win-loss record to 4-6.
“I think it’s been nine quarters of very solid defense on our part starting with the last quarter of the NLEX (Northern Luzon Expressway) game and going to the Magnolia game and even tonight. Everyone was operating as a team,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Six players from Meralco scored in double figures.
Durham dazzled with 19 points and 20 rebounds; Mike Tolomia added 17 points and six assists; Cliff Hodge had a double-double performance with 14 points and 11 rebounds; Chris Newsome added 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists; Anjo Caram and Reynel Hugnatan contributed 11 points and 10 points, respectively.
“We made mistakes but our defense was good,” said Black.
Rain or Shine, which drew 16 points from Norbert Torres, fell to its second straight loss for a 2-6 win-loss record.
Meralco 91 – Durham 19, Tolomia 17, Hodge 14, Newsome 12, Caram 11, Hugnatan 10, Salva 4, Amer 2, Jamito 2, Ballesteros 0.
Rain or Shine 82 – Torres 16, Watson 14, Nambatac 13, Daquioag 10, Ponferada 7, Ahanmisi 7, Yap 7, Norwood 6, Borboran 2.
Quarters: 19-19, 44-43, 65-65, 91-82.
JOSEF T. RAMOS