The Meralco Bolts improved their chances of making it to the quarterfinal round as they escaped the Blackwater Elite, 89-85, in the PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday at the AUF Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Pampanga.
The victory was the Bolts’ fourth in seven tries while Blackwater suffered its fourth straight defeat to fall to 2-5 (win-loss).
Meralco had to scratch and claw for the victory as Blackwater rallied from a 13-point deficit and pulled to within three, 75-78, after a basket by Don Trollano with just 3:22 remaining in the game.
However, Bolts wingman Chris Newsome came up clutch, scoring on a turnaround jumper before completing an and-one to push Meralco’s lead to eight, 83-75, time down to 2:15.
A three-pointer by Mike Tolomia gave Blackwater a glimmer of hope but Meralco big man quickly shut that down as he scored inside for an 85-78 lead with just 1:03 remaining in the game.
The game, though, ended on a sour note as Meralco big man and former Cebu Eastern College stud, Raymar Jose, got into an altercation with Blackwater veteran KG Cañaleta. Both players were ejected with just 5.4 ticks left on the clock.
Newsome finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Bong Quinto and the ageless Reynel Hugnatan had 14 markers apiece. Cliff Hodge punched in 11 while Allein Maliksi put up 10.
Don Trollano led Blackwater with 16 points while Roi Sumang tallied 15 markers. (JNP)