By Adrian Stewart Co
Meralco Bolts averted San Miguel Beermen’s (SMB) repeated uprising as they cruised to a 93-87 victory in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After seeing their largest lead of 74-59 trimmed to 77-79 by a furious Beermen rally, Norman Aaron Black drilled back-to-back three pointers as the Bolts widened the lead to 87-77 with over three minutes left.
San Miguel made its last push to come within 83-88 with over a minute left but a three-pointer from Chris Newsome with 40 seconds left and two free throws by Rey Mark Belo secured the win for the Bolts.
Newsome led the way with 17 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals, while Black chipped in 15 markers, including three outside hits, as the Bolts took the solo first place in the standings with 2-0 slate.
Negrense center Reynel Hugnatan contributed 13 points while converting three three-pointers, while Nard John Pinto added 11 points, all during the Bolts’ huge third quarter rampage.
“It was a 2-0 start for us but this is not a perfect game. Still a lot of adjustments to made,” said Black. “San Miguel had a great start but we have each other’s backs and that’s how we won this.”
Terrence Romeo led the Beermen with 18 points but exited early in the fourth quarter after twisting his ankle. According to reports, the former Gilas Pilipinas guard was suspected to sustain MCL injury after he heard a pop on his knee.
Jaymar Perez debuted for San Miguel Beer with 17 points, Moala Tautuaa also had 17 markers and 10 boards, while June Mar Fajardo struggled in his return with five points and five rebounds.
MERALCO 93 – Newsome 17, Black 15, Hugnatan 13, Pinto 11, Quinto 9, Belo 7, Maliksi 7, Pasaol 7, Almazan 4, Hodge 4, Jackson 0.
SAN MIGUEL 87 – Romeo 18, Perez 17, Tautuaa 17, Lassiter 11, Santos 8, Ross 5, Fajardo 5, Cabagnot 4, Gotladera 2, Pessumal 0.
Quarterscores: 18-25, 42-41, 74-59, 93-87./ASC, WDJ