Meralco escapes 2nd straight overtime, edges Blackwater
MANILA, Philippines — Meralco survived its second straight game in overtime this time outlasting Blackwater, 83-75, in the 2015 PBA Philippine Cup Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Cliff Hodge had a career game with 26 points and 18 rebounds while John Wilson scored all of his 10 points in overtime, where the Bolts outscored the Elite, 13-5.
“Actually, I don’t like overtimes but my players seem to like it. But as long as we come out a winner I guess it’s okay,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black with a laugh.
“We seem to be in a very good flow in the game during the first three quarters but maybe somewhere in the middle of the third quarter we started to lose control,” Black said. “Blackwater started playing well and we just couldn’t turn the momentum around.”
Meralco led by 18 at one point in the third quarter and blew a 67-53 buffer with under eight minutes left as Blackwater, spearheaded by Alex Nuyles, finished the fourth quarter on a 17-3 tear to force the extension at 70-all.
Nuyles led the Elite, who dropped to 0-3, with 14 points, 10 coming in the final frame.
Ogie Menor also had 14 while Bam Gamalinda added 10, including a short jumper that briefly gave the Elite a 72-70 edge to open up the extra time.
But the Bolts went on a 11-1 finishing kick capped by a breakaway layup by Wilson off a steal by Sean Anthony for an 81-73 lead with only 1:04 left to clinch the win.
“Fortunately for us in the overtime, John Wilson made some big plays for us and of course Cliff Hodge continued to play well.”
Gamalinda extended the game on a 3-pointer with 14.8 seconds left in regulation.
Meralco had a chance to take the lead but Reynel Hugnatan muffed a point blank attempt with under 10 seconds left.
Jason Ballesteros secured the defensive rebound and called the timeout with about five ticks remaining but referee Peter Balao, who was near Ballesteros inexplicably didn’t see it and instead whistled a jump ball as Anthony was able to tie the former San Sebastian center up with 2.2 seconds left.
The Bolts came off a 112-108 win over the Barako Bull Energy in double OT last Wednesday and it turns out that they had much left in them to gut another one out.
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