World Sports

Issue date: April 17, 2017

Meralco Bolts in Easter victory

THE Meralco Bolts made it a triumphant return from the Holy Week break, beating the Blackwater Elite, 102-91, in their Easter Sunday PBA Commissioner’s Cup encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Meralco Bolts made it a triumphant return from the Holy Week break, beating the Blackwater Elite, 102-91, in their Easter Sunday encounter. -- ALVIN S. GO

Bucking a tough challenge from their opponents, the Bolts notched their second consecutive win while improving their record in the mid-season Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) tournament to 6-1, good for solo second place as of press time.

Meralco started the game with a burst, outscoring Blackwater, 13-6, in the first four minutes of the opening quarter. But the Elite would go on a 9-2 run after to first tie the score at 15-all before outscoring the Bolts, 9-7, to take a 24-22 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second period, Blackwater continued to hold sway, outgunning Meralco, 24-22, to remain on top by halftime, 48-44.

Meralco came out aggressive in the third frame, overtaking Blackwater, 52-50, three minutes into the canto.

The Elite, however, would find their footing, boosted by the offensive outburst of Niño Canaleta, who scored 11 points, to keep their head afloat and stay ahead at the end of the third period, 80-72.

Meralco opened the final canto with a 6-0 run to narrow the gap at 80-78. Blackwater managed to survive the initial salvo of the Bolts, but with locals Kelly Nabong and Ed Daquioag stepping up their game Meralco would not relent.

The Bolts established a six-point cushion, 92-86, with a little over four minutes left in the contest, a lead they would build on and use as a fort to hold on for the victory.

Jared Dillinger top-scored for Meralco with 21 points while import Alex Stepheson had 18 points, 15 rebounds and five assists.

Mr. Nabong finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Chris Newsome had 14 points and Baser Amer wound up with 12 points and nine rebounds.

Blackwater, which dropped to 1-5, was paced by Greg Smith with 19 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.

Mike DiGregorio had 16 points while Mr. Canaleta added 14.

“We knew coming into the game that we are at 5-1 primarily for our defense. So in the second half we just stepped up our defense and relied on our team work to get the win,” said Mr. Nabong, named player of the game, in describing their mind-set in the second half of the match.

Meralco takes a near three-week break before returning to court on May 3 against the Phoenix Petroleum Fuel Masters while Blackwater plays the Star Hotshots on Saturday, April 22.

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