Power forward Kelly Nabong scored the crucial points in the final quarter to power Meralco’s 101-95 win over Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX) on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 6’4 Nabong, posted 12 points and four rebounds before fouling out in the last two-minute mark.
Nabong gave Meralco an 84-77 lead with five minutes left in the game but NLEX retaliated with a 7-0 run highlighted by Henry Walker’s jumper that tied the score 84-all, with 3:28 left in the game. Meralco responded win an 11-4 blitz to reclaim the lead 95-88, with just a minute left.
Rookie point guard Baser Amer, who notched seven points, seven assists, four rebounds and two steals, finished what Nabong started by scoring a triple and a jumper. Dillinger and fellow rookie Newsome’s free throws ensured their win.
“This was a really good team effort on our part today,” said Meralco coach Norman Black during the postgame interview. “We got a lot of contributions from a lot of people. We really showed we are a team in this game.”
Import Allen Durham, who was wearing a protective mask, led the Bolts to a back-to-back victory with 31 points including two treys in addition to 17 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
The Bolts improved their win-loss record to 5-3.
“It’s a really hard-fought game,” added Black. “We wanted to win the rebound battle. We just sat Jimmy (Alapag) out tonight. He tweaked something on the lower part of his calf. It’s important for us to have him, his leadership, when we make it to the playoffs.”
Cliff Hodge also had an outstanding performance, posting 17 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Chris Newsome tallied 12 points, seven assists and six steals while Jared Dillinger and Bryan Faundo contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively, also for the Bolts.
Walker notched 38 points including eight three-pointers plus nine rebounds and five assists to lead NLEX. The Road Warriors now hold a 3-4 win-loss record.