Meralco nips San Mig Coffee to get 1-0 lead in q’finals series

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Eric Dawson vs Denzel Bowles. Nuki Sabio/PBA

MANILA, Philippines — Meralco nipped San Mig Coffee, 88-85, to get a headstart in their best-of-three quarterfinals series on Friday in the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Import Eric Dawson scattered 25 points — nine in the fourth — and pulled down 18 rebounds —  a few in the crucial seconds — for the Bolts, who are a win away from eliminating the defending champions.

The Bolts held on to a slim two-point lead entering the final two minutes of the game, but got the breaks as the Mixers kept on missing their shots down the stretch.

“There were some anxious moments for us, especially on the start. We couldn’t stop Denzel but we were able to make stops and  crucial freethrows,” said head coach Ryan Gregorio.

Two freethrows from Eric Dawson with 4.4 seconds left gave Meralco the safety as Mark Barroca misfired on a key triple, which could’ve given San Mig Coffee the lead.

Denzel Bowles churned out a game-high 37 points, along with 15 rebounds and four blocks but only rookie Alex Mallari added double digit points with 12.

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