Meralco averts meltdown, holds off Rain or Shine
Meralco avoided a huge collapse and pulled off an 89-83 victory over Rain or Shine to maintain its pristine record Wednesday in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.
Alex Stepheson topped the Bolts with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks, while Baser Amer had 17 markers, 11 boards, and six assists.
Meralco seemed to be on its way to an easy victory after Amer gave it an 85-76 lead in the final 1:41, but the Elasto Painters waged a 7-0 fightback to get to within two, 85-83, with 40.1 seconds left.
But Amer and Stepheson would link up in the last 26.5 seconds with a pick-and-roll lay-up play to put the nail in the coffin as the Bolts came away with their fourth straight victory.
Cliff Hodge also had 12 points and eight rebounds in the win.
“From my perspective, it’s another good defensive outing for us. We limited Rain or Shine to below 90 points and that’s good for us,” said coach Norman Black.
Shawn Taggart led Rain or Shine with 27 points and 13 rebounds, but missed the huge three in the final 20 seconds which could have kept the rally alive in the end game.
Jericho Cruz had 12 markers and five boards for the Elasto Painters, which absorbed their first loss in four games.
MERALCO 89 – Stepheson 21, Amer 17, Hodge 12, Dillinger 9, Nabong 8, Newsome 7, Daquioag 6, Caram 6, Hugnatan 3, Chua 0, Faundo 0, Uyloan 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 83 – Taggart 27, Cruz 12, Norwood 9, Almazan 8, Chan 7, Ahanmisi 6, Yap 6, Belga 5, Washington 3, Tiu 0, Tolomia 0, Ponferrada 0, Trollano 0.
Quarters: 17-13, 45-34, 64-59, 89-83.