The Meralco Bolts hardly felt the absence of two key plays and got a push from Anjo Caram and Reynel Hugnatan to hold off Terrafirma, 95-83, Thursday in the 2021 Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Caram and Hugnatan took charge in the fourth quarter and carried the Bolts to their sixth win in eight games.
Now in second spot, the Bolts stayed in hot pursuit of a playoff slot.
Back from a two-week absence following an enforced break, the Bolts were rusty but still drew big plays from Caram and Hugnatan as they pulled away from a 75-all deadlock in the last period.
Caram, coming off the bench with 13 points, struck with two triples in the fourth canto, the last one finding its mark in the remaining 4:12 and putting the Bolts up by 12 points.
“We were off for two weeks. When that happened, you have no idea how your team is gonna play and come back. We were rusty,” said Bolts coach Norman Black.
Hugnatan drilled only 10 points, but he struck hard in the remaining 10:23 of the fourth, sinking a three-point play and a putback that lifted the Bolts out of 75-all tie and into an 81-75 edge.
“We did not do a good job with the ball in the first. But in the second half, we were getting our shots in,” added Black.
Allain Maliksi and Raymund Almazan added 12 and 11 points for the Bolts, while Bong Quinto hit 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Aldrech Ramos topscored for the Dyip with 15 points.
The Bolts returned to action with key plays Chris Newsome and Chris Hodge indisposed as the two observed the league’s health and safety protocols.