PBA On Tour: Meralco pulls away to beat Converge
ANTIPOLO—Meralco overcame a bruising encounter with Converge behind a collective effort from some of its regular starters and bench players to take a 96-88 win on Sunday in the PBA On Tour at Ynares Center here.
Cliff Hodge and Raymond Almazan registered double-double efforts while Allein Maliksi, Bong Quinto and Anjo Caram made important plays in the fourth quarter where the Bolts took command to claim their second win in three games in the exhibition series.
Coach Luigi Trillo heaped praises on his team, especially those who continue to play in the On Tour despite missing Chris Newsome, Aaron Black and Chris Banchero either because of upcoming commitments with Gilas Pilipinas or resting minor injuries.
“We’ve been having hard training sessions for like 13 or 14 times, but some of the guys like Anjo, Hodge and Maliksi continue to practice,” said Trillo.
Maliksi topscored with 16 points, Hodge had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Almazan put up 11 points and 14 rebounds.
Caram posted 15 points and three assists in 33 minutes in filling in for the absence of Newsome, Black and Banchero while Quinto had 11 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Alvin Pasaol, another seldom-used player being given a chance to impress the Bolts coaching staff, was the sixth player in double figures with 10.
Jeron Teng finished with 21 points but the FiberXers were handed a second loss in three matches.
A three-pointer by Caram with over four minutes to go allowed Meralco to pull away after Converge cut to within one several times, the last at 85-84. Almazan made two freethrows before Hodge scored to make it 92-84.
MERALCO 96—Maliksi 16, Caram 15, Hodge 14, Quinto 11, Almazan 11, Pasaol 10, Torres 9, Jose 5, Johnson 2, Rios 2, Pascual 1.
CONVERGE 88—Teng 21, Ebona 12, Arana 12, Racal 12, Stockton 11, Nieto 8, Balanza 7, Ambohot 5, Guinto 0.
Quarters: 24-21, 49-44, 70-70, 96-88.