PBA: Meralco withstands Converge in OT despite Jamaal Franklin’s 57
MANILA, Philippines–Meralco grinded out a 132-129 overtime victory over Converge to stay in the hunt for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup on Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Allein Maliksi knocked down a go-ahead three with 34 seconds left in the extension but almost turned him from hero to goat when he was ejected for a Flagrant Foul 2 for holding the neck of Barkley Ebona during a late scuffle.
Luckily for Maliksi and the Bolts, they were to get a needed cushion and a stop before the horn to tie the FiberXers for fifth place at 6-4.
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“We just gutted it out in overtime with our defense,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
The Bolts face the Phoenix Fuel Masters on Sunday with an opportunity to put themselves in a good position to possibly get a top four spot after the eliminations.
They won despite allowing FiberXers import Jamaal Franklin to score 57 points. But Franklin fouled out in the extra session, giving the Bolts the advantage.
Converge fell to 6-4 with a second straight defeat, but almost got it done when Alec Stockton hit a jumper for a 128-127 lead with 44 seconds to go.
Meralco, however, answered as import KJ McDaniels dished it out to an open Maliksi for a triple for a 130-128 advantage, time down to 34 ticks left.
Things got heated with six seconds remaining when Maliksi was clotheslined by Converge’s Barkley Ebona, prompting the the Meralco cager to confront the big man at the scorer’s table.
Ebona was slapped with a Flagrant Foul 1 while Maliksi was tossed for his F2 infraction.
Anjo Caram hit two freethrows for Meralco while Jeron Teng split his own couple of attempts from the foul line to make it a three-point deficit.
That didn’t hinder Meralco to get out with a win as Jerrick Balanza’s three was deflected before time expired.