PBA: Meralco beats NorthPort ahead of playoffs
MANILA, Philippines — Meralco avoided a major collapse after escaping NorthPort, 80-73, in the PBA Philippine Cup Wednesday at AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Angeles, Pampanga.
The Bolts blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter after the Batang Pier threatened to within three, 76-73, after back-to-back triples by Kevin Ferrer and Renzo Subido and a basket by Paolo Taha with 1:55 remaining.
Fortunately for Meralco, its defense held up down the stretch as NorthPort never scored again, going 0-of-4 from downtown inside the last two minutes.
The Bolts hiked their record to 7-4 as they head into their first Philippine Cup playoffs since 2015.
“[Coach Norman Black] told us this is our time [to make the Philippine Cup playoffs] because we have a good team and each and every one of us is healthy including Raymond Almazan,” said Meralco guard Bong Quinto, who scored a team-high 14 points, in Filipino.
Raymond Almazan added 11 points, including a breakaway layup that made it 78-73 with 24.9 seconds left, and seven rebounds in 27 minutes off the bench.
Kelly Nabong and Taha had 14 points apiece for the Batang Pier, who missed the services of Christian Standhardinger and Sean Anthony.
NorthPort, which also didn’t have rising guard Robert Bolick in the bubble, ended its campaign at 1-10.
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