Meralco pips Rain or Shine; Phoenix rises
Meralco blew a 26-point first half lead and sat on pin and needles in the stretch last night before pulling off a 98-95 victory over Rain or Shine and stay unscathed in the Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup eliminations at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The Bolts led practically from start to finish but had to outsteady the shorthanded Elasto Painters in the waning minutes before rising to 3-0 overall and staying in the solo lead.
It was the first loss for the Painters, who suffered a double blackeye after import Wayne Chism was helped out of the court in the third quarter because of a suspected hamstring pull.
Arinze Onuaku scored 31 points and had 27 rebounds despite huffing and puffing for most of the 39 minutes he was on the floor. Jared Dillinger scored 16, including a free throw with 2.7 seconds left that rounded out scoring.
“Oh, boy!” Meralco coach Norman Black said upon stepping into the press room, relieved after surviving the contest. “It became a tough game when the import (Chism) came out (and we were ahead by 26).”
Meanwhile, Phoenix Petroleum announced its arrival in style by bringing down NLEX, 118-106, as RR Garcia returned from sick bay to toss in 33 points.
“The players are so pumped up, so inspired,” said Phoenix coach Koy Banal. “We talked about history, about winning our first game. I am thankful, grateful to the players for giving it their all.”
PHOENIX 118—Garcia 33, Adeleke 18, Intal 17, Baracael 15, Brondial 8, Pennisi 8, Urbiztondo 6, Wilson 6, Lanete 5, Fortuna 2, Monfort 0.
NLEX 106—Thornton 27, Anthony 19, Taulava 18, Villanueva J. 16, Wilson 7, Borboran 5, Alas 3, Rios 3, Enciso 2, Khobuntin 2, Lanete 2, Villanueva E. 2, Reyes 0.
Quarters: 21-24, 50-47, 84-76, 118-106
MERALCO 98 – Onuaku 31, Dillinger 16, Hodge 12, Bono 9, Caram 8, David 5, Nabong 4, Newsome 4, Amer 3, Al Hussaini 2, Faundo 2, Ferriols 2.
RAIN OR SHINE 95 – Ahanmisi 19, Cruz 15, Quinahan 15, Norwood 12, Almazan 8, Chan 6, Ponferada 6, Belga 5, Chism 3, Tiu 3, Trollano 2, Matias 1, Ibanes 0, Nimes 0.
Quarters: 19-15, 61-36, 76-76, 98-95
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