Gunner Mark Macapagal notched crucial shots down the stretch to power Meralco’s 97-82 win over Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Friday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 40 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
With their victory in Game 1, the Bolts under coach Norman Black gained a 1-0 edge over the Road Warriors in their best-of-three quarterfinals battle.
“Much better effort from us; much as our teamwork is concerned,” said Black. “Much better at sharing the basketball. Our offense has really let us down. Hopefully we can build on this. Total team effort, guy guarding [Al] Thornton has to play tough.”
“We really have to help on defense against Thornton.”
Macapagal, who posted a season-high 22 points via 5-of-10 shooting in the three-point territory, allowed the Bolts to gain their biggest lead, 66-46, with 2:30 left in the third quarter.
Import Josh Davis scored 16 points plus 21 rebounds; Sean Anthony had 14 points, Gary David 13 points, Mike Cortez 10 points and Reynel Hugnatan 10 points for Meralco.
NLEX managed to narrow the gap at 61-69 by the end of third frame after Jonas Villanueva’s back-to-back treys.
But Meralco sustained their tight defense and accurate shooting to keep the lead at the end of the game.
Al Thornton led the Road Warriors with 23 points and 11 rebounds. NLEX will try to get even on Sunday in Game 2 at Araneta Coliseum.