MERALCO brought down NLEX, 101-92, for its third win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Center in Pampanga.
Five mainstays, led by Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi, scored in double figures for the Bolts, who moved up to 3-2 overall.
Newsome finished with 18 points, six rebounds and six assists while Maliksi added 17 points and six rebounds for the Bolts, who won for the second time in four days.
Raymond Almazan also had a near double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds in his most productive performance in the bubble play thus far.
The 6-8 Almazan is coming back from an injury.
Cliff Hodge and Baser Amer also had a productive night with 11 and 10 points respectively,
“For us, it’s not about who’s scoring the most but everybody doing their share and doing their part,” said Newsome who was also instrumental in Meralco’s’ 109-104 overtime win over Magnolia last Tuesday.
“I told my teammates this is a great opportunity for us to improve on the team standings and a great opportunity for the franchise to go two straight,” afded Newsome.
The win by Meralco spoiled the 30-point effort of NLEX guard Kiefer Ravena.
Ravena went 10-of-15 from the floor and a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line for the Road Warriors, who dropped to 1-4 in the standings.
Anthony Semerad added 16 points and eight rebounds and Kevin Alas conributed 10 points and five rebounds for NLEX.
Meanwhile, defending champion San Miguel Beer and Alaska Milk square off in the main game today at 6:45 p.m.
Although playing minus six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo, the Beermen played well enough to beat Terrafirma, 105-98, last Monday and snap a two-game slide in the bubble.
Alaska, however, could be a tough customer.
The Aces are hoping to extend their winning streak to four games after a 0-2 start that saw them lose a key starterin Kevin Racal to a torn ACL right on their very first game.
“When we lost to Meralco we went back to basics,” said Alaska Jeff Cariaso.
“We talked about our defense. We talked about how to improve on it, We want to have that understanding that going to every game our defensive mind-set must be strong.
The emphasis was really on our defense,” added Cariaso.
Cariaso knows the Aces will have their hands full against the Beermen.
“Tomorrow’s game will be a different challenge on its own,” said Cariaso on the eve of the match.
“First, SMB will showcase their experience and heart despite being without Romeo and JMF. They still have lots of talent there and we expect them to be at their best.”
Terrafirma and NorthPort clash in the 4 p.m. curtainraiser.
Meralco (101) – Newsome 18, Maliksi 17, Almazan 11, Amer 11, Hodge 10, Black 9, Quinto 9, Jamito 7, Hugnatan 6, Jackson 3, Pinto 0, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Caram 0. NLEX (92) – Ravena 30, Semerad 16, Alas 10, Cruz 9, Porter 8, Ayonayon 7, Soyud 6, Quiñahan 6, Varilla 0, Miranda 0, Ighalo 0. Quarterscores: 25-17, 41-39, 65-73, 101-92.
(AUF Sports Arena)
4 p.m. — Terrafirma vs. NorthPort
6:45 p.m. — San Miguel vs. Alaska