July 19, 2019
Meralco battles Alaska for the last quarterfinal slot in a knockout playoff match at 7 p.m. tonight in Season 44 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Bolts escaped San Miguel Beer on Wednesday, 95-91, in the last game of the elims, eliminating Phoenix Pulse in the race toward the playoff round.
Though Phoenix Pulse and Alaska both hold 4-7 win-loss records after the eliminations, the No. 9 Bolts bagged the playoff berth because of superior quotient over the No. 10 Fuel Masters.
“It’s better to be alive than dead even in real life, that’s just the way it is. We get to live another day to fight,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “I know it is going to be a tough game for us but at least we have a chance.”
The winner between Meralco and Alaska will face No. 1 and twice-to-beat holder TNT KaTropa in the quarterfinals on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco import Delroy James notched 34 points including three consecutive baskets in crunch time against the Beermen, saving the Bolts from early elimination.
SMB dropped to No. 7 to face the No. 2 and twice-to-beat holder Northport.
“He (James) is a professional player, he’s 32-year-old and he played all over the world. I’m happy for him and I’m happy for the team. We got a new life,” added Black, who’s thankful of Blackwater’s 112-104 win over Alaska on Sunday that kept the Bolts alive.
No. 8 Alaska (4-7) tries to end its five-game losing skid in an important knockout game against Meralco heading to the quarters.
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