MERALCO played just hard enough to bring down Alaska Milk, 93-81, in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Pampanga.
Allein Maliksi, Baser Amer, Reynel Hugnatan and Cliff Hodge provided the firepower for the Bolts, who led by as many as 19 points against the Aces.
Maliksi came of the bench to score 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 28 minutes; Amer added 15 points with three triples; Hugnatan contributed 13 points and eight rebounds; and Hodge had 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting for the Bolts.
It was a fitting win for the Bolts and coach Norman Black, who finally chalked up their first win in the PBA bubble.
Jeron Teng was the lone bright spot for Alaska, finishing with 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting,.
Teng also finished with seven rebounds and two assists.
Vic Manuel was the only other player in double figures for Alaska with 18 points.
Manuel, however, struggled with 8-of-21 shooting.
Robbie Herndon gad eight points and eight rebounds in a losing cause.
Also a big letdown for Alaska was Michael Digregorio, who was limited to only six points on a nightmarish 1-of-13 field goal shooting.
Overall, Meralco made 33-of-66 attempts for 50 percent shooting against Alaska’s 29-of-76 for only 38 percent.
The Bolts also had more rebounds (47-38), more assists ( 22-10) , more steals (10-8) and more blocks (3-1).
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra and Blackwater seek a share of the lead with Talk N Text when they square off at 6:45 p.m. today.
The Gin Kings defeated NLEX, 102-922, last Sunday, while Blackwater subdued NorthPort, 96-89, the following day.
Despite the win, Ginebra coach Tim Cone admitted the Gin Kings have a lot of work to do.
“So far, so good. Hopefully we can move forward and continue to grow and get better as a team,” said Cone.
“Unless we get in better shape and get better timing back… I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement,” added Cone.
Blackwater coach Nash Racela also reminded his players for the need to keep theur focus.
“It will be a tough assignment against Ginebra,” said Racela.
In the curtainraiser, Phoenix Super LPG also guns for its second win against NorthPort Batang Pier.
Game time is at 4 p.m. with the Fuel Masters seeking a fitting follow-up to their 116-98 win over Meralco last Monday.
“Winning game one doesn’t make us bubble champions. It just means if we’re going to do it right, the way we prepared for it, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win,” said.Phoenix coach Topex Robinson.
NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio, however, is expected to bring the best out of the Batang Pier and finally barge into win column.
Meralco (93) — Maliksi 17, Amer 15, Hugnatan 13, Hodge 11, Black 8, Jose 6, Newsome 6, Almazan 5, Quinto 5, Pinto 5, Faundo 2. Alaska (81) — Teng 25, Manuel 18, Herndon 8, Publico 8, DiGregorio 6, Tratter 6, Brondial 5, Galliguez 3, Ayaay 2, Andrada 0, Casio 0, Eboña 0. Quarterscores: 29-23, 49-35, 65-58, 93-81.
(Angeles University Sports Arena)
4 p.m. — NorthPort vs. Phoenix Super LPG
6:45 p.m — Ginebra vs Blackwater