MANILA, Philippines – Meralco proved to be the better team down the stretch as it thwarted Global Port, 101-92, Friday in the 38th PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts, who bounced back after a forgetful overtime setback against Rain or Shine, drew solid performances from Sol Mercado and rookie Kelly Nabong.
Nabong finished with a career-high 18 points on top of 11 rebounds to give his team a much-needed inside presence.
Mercado drilled five straight points, a three to beat the shot clock before a long jumper, that finally put away the Batang Pier, 93-83, with 2:00 left.
Ronjay Buenafe nailed a triple to break an 83-deadlock, then Nabong made a basket inside followed by Mercado’s back-to-back shots to cap Meralco’s 10-0 spurt.
Mercado added 24 points while Buenafe chipped in 14.
The Bolts, who were led by Mac Cardona’s 26 points, improved to 6-5 while Batang Pier fell to 1-10.
Global Port’s lone win came against Meralco in their first encounter last October.
Gary David’s game-high 33 points, 25 in the first half, still couldn’t snap the Batang Pier’s losing skid which is now at seven.
Rey Guevarra also had a good game for Global with 20 markers.