• Paniamogan leads Mahindra to back-to-back wins

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    Philip Paniamogan led the Mahindra Floodbuster to a 105-92 win over the Meralco Bolts on Wednesday in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 42 Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.

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    Paniamogan, who was scoreless in their last game against Blackwater, finished with a career-high 25 points on 7-of-9 shooting beyond the three-point zone on top of two rebounds and one assist.

    The back-to-back wins improved the Floodbuster’s win-loss record to 2-5. The Floodbuster won 97-93 over the Blackwater Elite on Christmas Day at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

    “Happy New year fella it’s good to be back,” Mahindra assistant coach Chris Gavina told reporters during the postgame news conference. “Meralco is definitely a contender team. Its win-loss record does not reflect the capability of this team. We really just had our cylinders going this game.”

    Alex Mallari No.11 and Jason Deutchman No.14 of Mahindra guard Cliff Hodge No.7 of Meralco during the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City on Wednesday. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

    Alex Mallari No.11 and Jason Deutchman No.14 of Mahindra guard Cliff Hodge No.7 of Meralco during the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City on Wednesday. PHOTO BY MIKE DE JUAN

    Mahindra registered an all-time franchise record of 21 triples while Meralco only posted seven treys.

    “Our guys have really been buying in on coming early and staying late,” he added. “Our preparation all came together today. I dedicate this game to coach Joe (Lipa) and his wife, his wife just got out of the hospital. I hope it uplifts her spirit.”

    Power forward Nico Salva notched 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the field. Shooting guard Alex Mallari posted another 13-points plus 11 assists and six rebounds. Jason Deutchman finished with 13 points while Mike Digregorio, Russel Escoto and Mark Yee contributed 11, 10 and eight points, respectively also for Mahindra.

    After posting a slim 25-24 lead in the opening period, the Floodbuster leaned on Paniamogan’s prowess to stretch Mahindra’s advantage to 52-42 at the half.

    Meralco’s defense could not stop Mahindra’s accurate shooting with Paniamogan scoring three triples in the third period. The Floodbuster established a comfortable 63-50 lead with still seven minutes to go after Paniamogan’s sixth triple.

    Reynel Hugnatan’s short jumper reduced Mahindra’s lead, 59-63, with 5:20 to go, but the Floodbuster countered with a 10-4 blast highlighted by the three-point shots of Nico Elorde and Salva resulting in a comfortable advantage, 73-64, entering the fourth period.

    The Floodbuster, relying on defense, outscored the Bolts in the last quarter, 32-28, behind Digregorio and the rookie Escoto.

    Hugnatan led the Bolts with 28 points on 12-of-21 shooting in the field plus six rebounds and three assists, while combo guard Chris Newsome had 19 points and eight assists. Meralco’s win-loss record, after absorbing its fifth consecutive defeat, dropped to 2-6.

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