PBA: Meralco blows big lead, escapes NLEX
MANILA, Philippines–Chris Banchero hit the go-ahead floater with two ticks left while Bong Quinto nailed the game-sealing freebie to help will Meralco past NLEX, 97-94, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday.
Up by as many as 29 points, the Bolts kept it together to weather a fiery fightback by the Road Warriors who were eager to bounce back from an embarrassing loss to league-leading Magnolia last Friday.
The Bolts improved to 4-1, good for third place in the race. But coach Luigi Trillo was hardly in the mood to celebrate after the untimely exit of import Su Braimoh Jr. who had to be carried out of the court for a feared Achilles tear.
Braimoh Jr. finished with 38 points and eight rebounds, while Banchero led all locals with 15 points. Chris Newsome chipped in 14 while Quinto 12 more as Meralco now gird for the worse on its import situation just when it is going to go through a perilous second-half elimination round schedule.
On tap for the Bolts are dangerous NorthPort, desperate Converge, defending champion Barangay Ginebra, and early leaders Magnolia and Phoenix Super LPG.
NLEX drew 24 points from both import Stokley Chaffee Jr. and Don Trollano, who hit a triple inside the final 22 to tie the game at 94-all. Skipper
Sean Anthony tossed in 11 more in the losing stand that pushed the Road Warriors dropped to 2-4.