Raymund Almazan drilled in 13 of his 21 points in the final quarter as the Meralco Bolts edged the TNT Tropang Giga, 97-91, on Wednesday to earn their third win in a row in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Almazan’s big game came as import KJ McDaniels got held to just a point in the final period, but it didn’t matter as the Bolts nailed their fourth win in nine games.
McDaniels still finished with 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Bolts, who share seventh and eighth spots with the Tropang Giga.
Aaron Black had 17 points, including a trey in the 1:54, which allowed the Bolts to move away, 92-88.
Almazan’s split charity and driving shot in the last 31 seconds saw the Bolts keeping their distance, 95-88.
“We just played much better and intense on defense. We did that in practice and tightened the screws a bit,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Cameron Oliver knocked in 25 points and 20 rebounds for the Tropang Giga, who last led, 78-75, before Almazan tied the match with a three-point play in the final 10:39.
The win allowed the Bolts to stay in contention for the quarterfinals.
On the other hand, it will be a tough grind for the Tropang Giga, who still have a clash with Barangay Ginebra on Sunday and Bay Area and San Miguel Beer next week.
The fate of TNT now hangs the balance in their last three matches.
The Bolts’ chance to qualify will be known in their next games against Magnolia next Sunday and NLEX on Nov. 30.
Then, they wrap up their elimination-round campaign against the San Miguel Beermen on Dec. 2.