Meralco gets lift from bench, upsets San Miguel
Meralco got a lift on both ends from an unlikely source to take down No. 2 San Miguel Beer, 106-99, on Saturday night and forge a deciding game for a semifinals slot in the 2015 PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Andre Emmet’s numbers of 28 points and 10 rebounds were a given but Kelly Nabong came out of nowhere and played a career game with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bolts while also trying to slow the Beermen’s reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo down.
“We needed big performances from a lot of players and I believe quite a few stepped up and helped us win this basketball game,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black. “Kelly Nabong played big for us inside the paint, he did a good job of diving to the basket off pick-and-rolls which allowed him to get open and he was able to score off those pick-and-rolls.”
The Bolts had six players with at least nine points with contributions coming from everyone whether it’s helping on the defensive end, hustling for the loose ball, following up missed shots or finding the open man.
Jared Dillinger, like Nabong, also came off the bench and scored 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
Meralco closed the game on a 7-1 spurt after San Miguel pulled to within one, 99-98, with 3:51 left. After several misses by the Beermen at the 3-point line, Cliff Hodge sank a floater over Fajardo to beat the shot clock and Emmet made a tough layup in between defenders off a turnover to seal the game, 106-99, with 57.6 seconds left.
Reynel Hugnatan also drilled in a go-ahead triple, 102-99, with 2:44 left as the shot clock was winding down.
Fajardo had 30 points on 9-of-11 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds for the Beermen, who failed to capitalize on a twice-to-beat advantage.
The deciding game will be on Monday, 7 p.m., also at the Big Dome. The winner will face Rain or Shine, which needed two overtimes to fend off Barako Bull, in a best-of-five semifinals series.
“We’ll be ready for San Miguel which will definitely bounce back strong.”
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