Meralco zaps Phoenix, barges into semis of PBA Governors’ Cup
MERALCO overcame Phoenix’s twice-to-beat quarterfinals advantage to make it to the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 43 Governors’ Cup on Friday.
Baser Amer and last year’s Best Import winner Allen Durham came up with big baskets at crunch time to help the Bolts pull off a hard-earned 108-103 win in overtime against Phoenix in their do-or-die game at the Araneta Coliseum.
“What a hill we climbed to get into this point,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “It’s almost like every game for the last three weeks have been pressure-laden. There was really no room for error as far as our execution on and defense [is concerned]. I’m really happy for my players.”
Durham flirted with a triple-double as he posted 32 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists. Amer finished with 26 points, including two backbreaking three-pointers in the extra period, to extend Meralco’s win streak to six games after a dismal 1-6 win-loss start.
Chris Newsome tallied 19 points and Nico Salva contributed eight also for the Bolts.
After Jason Perkin’s triple tied the game at 94 and sent the game into overtime, the Bolts unleashed an 8-0 run capped by Baser’s two straight triples that gave them a 102-94 cushion with 3:28 left.
Despite Phoenix’s effort to cut the deficit, 100-102, with 1:32 left, the the Bolts countered with six straight points in the waning seconds.
Meralco beat Phoenix in their first quarterfinal meeting, 90-74, on Wednesday to force the rubber match.
Perkins, the leading candidate to winRookie of the Year, led the No. 2-ranked Fuel Masters with 24 points.
Seventh seed Meralco will meet third seed Alaska in Game 1 of the best-of-seven semifinals starting Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Meralco 108 – Durham 32, Amer 26, Newsome 19, Salva 8, Canaleta 7, Hugnatan 6, Faundo 4, Dillinger 2, Caram 2, Tolomia 2.
Phoenix 103 – Perkins 24, Wright 20, Phelps 18, Chua 13, Abueva 10, Intal 10, Wilson 5, Revilla 2, Jazul 1, Kramer 0.
Quarters: 22-27, 40-50, 70-68, 94-94, 108-103.