The Meralco Bolts notched their first victory at the expense of the NLEX Road Warriors, 106-93, in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Season 41 Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Saturday.
Tied at 79-all, Garvo Lanete posted a three-pointer with 10:35 minutes remaining in the match to snatch the lead from Meralco, 79-82.
Joseph Henry Yeo unleashed a 4-0 run after hitting a layup and driving to the basket to regain the lead in the 9:07 minute mark, 84-82. Road Warrior Mac Baracael then retaliated and sank his floater to keep Meralco at bay, 85-84.
The Meralco Bolts completed an 11-0 run as Kelly Nabong, Chris Newsome, and Ed Daquioag hit their respective jumpers. Newsome scored a basket inside the paint followed by Daquioag’s trey to extend their advantage to 16, their biggest lead in the match, 103-87.
NLEX’s Carlo Lastimosa closed the bout a basket inside the paint, 106-93.
“This is a huge win for us because the last time we played all Filipino, it took us a long time to get one win so I’m happy to get that first win in the all Filipino and hopefully, we can continue winning in our upcoming games,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.
It was a tight battle in the first half until Meralco took the lead when Nabong picked up Newsome’s miss in the 1:49 minute mark of the second period, 52-50.
Daquioag drove to the basket off Newsome’s assist, 54-50. Lanete sank his floater with 20.6 seconds left in the first half, 56-54.
“We thought it was very important that we match the energy of NLEX in this game. We watched the game against Alaska and NLEX came out really attacking the basket and running on every opportunity so we thought it would be very important for us to be able to match their energy right from the start. We also know that they’re basically a pick-and-roll team. There were a lot of pick-and-rolls in the middle so a pick-and-roll defense I thought for the most part was pretty good today. We switched up a little bit on what we wanted to do as far as a pick-and-roll defense was concerned and we really slowed them down a little,” Black added.
Newsome top scored for Meralco with a double-double outing of 28 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Daquioag with 23 markers. Cliff Hodge added 12 points, while Nabong and Antonio Jose Caram had 11 markers apiece.
Sean Anthony led NLEX with 15 points, while Lanete, Eric James Camson and Raul Soyud tallied 14 markers apiece. Lastimosa and Kevin Louie Alas combined for 20 points.
The Meralco Bolts and the NLEX Road Warriors both hold 1-1 win-loss cards.