Meralco survives late Alaska comeback, makes it back-to-back wins to open Govs’ Cup.
The Meralco Bolts survived a late flurry from the resilient Alaska Aces to win, 100-96, and remain unbeaten in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco import Allen Durham finished with 36 points, 15 rebounds and six assists while Chris Newsome added 19 points for the Bolts, who are now 2-0.
Jared Dillinger added 13 points while Reynel Hugnatan scored 11.
Alaska, which was missing star forward Calvin Abueva in the game, was led by import LaDontae Henton, who posted 33 points and 12 rebounds.
Though Alaska led by as many as 10 points in the first half, it was Meralco entering the break ahead, 48-46.
Durham continued dominating as he tallied 18 points and eight rebounds over the first two periods while Newsome, who repeatedly got out in transition, added 14 markers.
Henton had 16 points at the break. Kevin Racal added nine to lead Alaska’s locals.
In the third, the Bolts allowed an early nine-point lead slip away but closed the quarter out on a strong 10-2 run behind some big plays from Dillinger and Anjo Caram to take a 73-64 advantage.
Meralco got Alaska in early penalty in the fourth quarter and maintained their lead by controlling the offensive glass and shooting steady from the free throw line.
That was highlighted by a possession that saw Cliff Hodge and Hugnatan both grabbing offensive boards before the Bolts found Hugnatan for a straight-on three-pointer that made it 96-85 with 1:54 remaining.
Alaska showed some signs of life as JVee Casio hit a bucket and Henten knocked down a free throw. After Hugnatan came away with a split from the line on the other end, RJ Jazul hit a huge three to make it a six-point game.
Meralco turned the ball over on the next possession before Henton drilled another big three as Alaska came to within three, 97-94, with 56 seconds remaining.
Durham made a basket but that was immediately answered by Vic Manuel, 99-96.
The Bolts then struggled to get the ball inbounds but even when they did, they could not create a good look against the pressing Aces’ defense, which made a crucial stop.
Alaska, though, could not tie the game on their offensive and Newsome corralled a big rebound with five seconds remaining. He sealed the game with a split from the line.
The Final Score Result:
MERALCO 100 – Durham 36, Newsome 19, Dillinger 13, Hugnatan 11, Hodge 5, Caram 4, Nabong 4, Alapag 3, Buenafe 3, Uyloan 2, Jamshidi 0.
ALASKA 96 – Henton 33, Jazul 13, Racal 11, Casio 8, Banchero 8, Manuel 6, Dela Rosa 4, Hontiveros 4, Thoss 3, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 2, Dela Cruz 2, Menk 0.
Quarters: 20-28, 48-46, 73-64, 100-96