Forward Cliff Hodge and freshman Chris Newsome delivered a productive stat line to help Meralco stop Mahindra 94-86 on Sunday and bag its seventh win in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Hodge racked up a conference best 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting in the field along with 11 rebounds and two assists, while Newsome added 15 points plus nine rebounds and seven assists to hand the Bolts a 7-2 win-loss record.
One week after upsetting Alaska, Mahindra was almost near of accomplishing another feat at the expense of league-leading Meralco after taking a comfortable lead in the fourth period (70-60). But the Bolts delivered a blazing performance in the fourth period outscoring the Enforcers 34-16.
“I was a little concerned in this game, we were off 16 days and that’s a very long time away from basketball court,” Meralco coach Norman Black told reporters after the game. “In the second quarter, we played a bit better offensively than Mahindra.”
“Mahindra played us very very tough. Newsome did a good job in the pick and rolls. It is a big win for us because it keeps us in the first place. This is a completely different team, we have a different kind of import.”
Speaking of import, six-foot-9 Arinze Onuaku piled up 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the field along with 17 rebounds and two block shots. Veteran forward Reynel Hugnatan added 13 points and five rebounds, while Jimmy Alapag had eight points and seven assists.
Playmaker LA Revilla, who finished with 10 points, gave the Enforcers an 86-78 edge after scoring on a floater with still seven minutes to go in the game. But the Bolts retaliated with a 16-0 blast highlighted by the three-point shooting of Alapag and Baser Amer to seize the edge.
Mahindra could not recover after losing its lead.
Hodge also had five straight points in that run.
In the second game, Barangay Ginebra clobbered San Miguel Beer, 110-84, to improve to 6-4. The Beermen fell to 5-3.
JOSEF T. RAMOS