Meralco dominates Alaska to win 2nd straight
Needing to keep pace with the leaders, Meralco put together a commendable showing on both ends on Saturday to roll past Alaska, 89-80, in the PBA Philippine Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“It’s good to get that fourth win because, obviously, Magnolia already has four, so we’re trying to keep up as much as possible in the standings,” said coach Norman Black, shortly after the Bolts won a second straight game and improved to 4-1.
Nards Pinto led Meralco with 16 points, while Chris Newsome chipped in 14 more that went with 11 rebounds.
Rookie Alvin Pasaol and Raymond Almazan finished with 13 and 12 points, respectively, and helped repel the Aces’ tries at a comeback in the final frame.
Playing Rain or Shine a week earlier proved to be key for Meralco’s conquest of Alaska, according to Black.
“(The Aces) are very similar to [the Painters] in that they can bully you because they have the bigs to do it,” he said.
“So we really wanted to concentrate on one, our defense; two, make sure they didn’t get very many second-chance points.”
Alaska drew 20 points from Gab Banal, 16 from Maverick Ahanmisi, and 10 Mike DiGregorio—enough to keep Meralco within striking range down the stretch.
It was, however, not enough to the Aces from sliding to 2-3.
Meralco’s victory typified the kind of effort that Black hopes to see as the conference plods along.
“I thought once again we played well defensively. We got a big lift from a lot of players,” said Black as NLEX comes next.
Meanwhile, PBA fans will have to wait a little later for the titanic clash between defending champion Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beer originally set in a triple header Sunday.
The league announced that the two crowd-drawing teams, along with NorthPort, have entered health and safety protocols.
Originally scheduled for the nightcap, Rain or Shine and Terrafirma will now be slugging it out at 2 p.m. TNT then follows suit, hoping to win its third straight against Phoenix Super LPG at 4:35 p.m.
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