The Meralco Bolts halted Mahindra Enforcers, 105-82, to enter the semifinals of the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Saturday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Import Allen Durham finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds to lead Meralco while Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge contributed 19 and 14 points, respectively.
“We really felt that this is an important game for us. If we lost tonight, we’ll give them (Mahindra) confidence,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said during the postgame news conference.
Bolts had a sluggish first half that allowed first time playoff contender Mahindra establish a 15-point advantage, 35-20, in the second quarter.
But Meralco recovered, reducing their foes’ lead to only six points through Newsome’s initiative that paved the way for a 9-0 run.
“We had a slow start. During the second half, we came out strong,” added Black.
Once they got their rhythm back and snatched the lead, the Bolts never gave Mahindra any chance to recover.
Jimmy Alapag and Durham fired back-to-back triples resulting in a 21-10 run allowing Meralco to lead, 50-45, at the start of third period. The Bolts sustained their offensive all the way until the final buzzer.
James White led Mahindra with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Black reminded his wards not to rest on their laurels because it is only the semifinals, “The semis is not the end. All we need to win is the championship,” he concluded.