Meralco Bolts relied on a relentless defense and a methodical offense to beat the NLEX Road Warriors, 101-92, yesterday, Friday, October 23, 2020 at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena & Cultural Center Powered by Smart 5G.
NLEX forward Anthony Semerad drained a three-pointer to cut the Meralco lead to 4 points, 94-90, with 2:25 left to play.
But Meralco’s Chris Newsome countered at the other. He drove into the paint and extended his left elbow to push NLEX defender Jericho Cruz out of the way. Newsome then converted the midrange jumper to extend the Meralco lead to six points, 96-90, with 2:03 left to play.
Kevin Alas missed a driving layup at the other end.
Newsome then found an open Allein Maliksi who drained a three-pointer to push Meralco ahead beyond recall, 99-90, with a minute left to play.
Newsome finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block to win the Player of the Game award.
“I think it was mainly our defense. We were really focused on defense at the floor. We did not let their offense dictate the flow of the game. We forced them to take tough shots, cleaned up the boards and our offense took care of itself,” said Newsome.
“It was a great opportunity for the Meralco franchise to win two games straight. For us it’s not who’s worth the most points. Not who’s Player of the Game. Everybody does his role to get the win.”
The Bolts (3 wins, 2 losses) followed up their 109-104 victory over the Magnolia Hotshots last Tuesday, October 20 to climb into a tie at fourth place with the Alaska Aces (3-2).
Leading the standings are TNT Tropang Giga (5-0), Barangay Ginebra (4-0) and Rain or Shine (3-1). Tied at sixth and seventh place are the San Miguel Beermen (2-2) and Phoenix Super LPG (2-2).
The other teams include the Blackwater Elite (2-3), Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (1-3), NLEX (1-4), the Terrafirma Dyip (0-3) the NorthPort Batang Pier (0-4).
Jockeying for position is intense even during this early stage because only 8 teams will advance to the Quarterfinals with the bottom 4 teams being eliminated outright.
Jammer Jamito completed a three-point play – converting a layup, drawing a fouling and making the bonus free throw – to hike the Meralco lead to 8 points, 25-17 after the first period.
The Road Warriors caught up in the second. Kevin Alas found himself open and drilled a three-pointer to tie the count, 37-all with 2:56 to go in the second period. Meralco would go on to protect a slim two-point, 41-39, advantage at halftime.
Aaron Black drained a jumper then made the bonus free throw to hike the Meralco lead to 11 points, 73-62, with 48 seconds left in the third. Kiefer Ravena countered with a three-pointer to cut Meralco advantage to 8 points, 73-65, after three quarters.
Meralco Bolts 101—Chris Newsome 18, Allein Maliksi 17, Raymond Almazan 11, Baser Amer 11, Cliff Hodge 10, Aaron Black 9, Bong Quinto 9, Jammer Jamito 7, Reynel Hugnatan 6, Trevis Jackson 3, Nard Pinto 0, Bryan Faundo 0, Raymar Jose 0.
NLEX Road Warriors 92—Kiefer Ravena 30, Anthony Semerad 16, Kevin Alas 10, Jericho Cruz 9, Kris Porter 8, Mike Ayonayon 7, JR Quiñahan 6, Raul Soyud 6, Kenneth Ighalo 0, Mike Miranda 0, Paul Varilla 0.
Quarter scores: 25-17, 41-39, 73-65, 101-92.
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