Meralco beats NLEX, clinches twice-to-beat edge

Posted by watchmen
September 23, 2021
Posted in SPORTS

By Adrian Stewart Co

Meralco Bolts survived a late rally by sister team NLEX Road Warriors for a 104-101 victory in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup yesterday at the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

Meralco Bolts rookie Alvin Pasaol attacks the defense of NLEX Road Warriors’ Jericho Cruz. (PBA Media Bureau photo)

Comfortably ahead at 101-82 on a layup by Kier John Quinto, the Bolts were threatened by a huge 13-0 scoring blast by the Road Warriors that cut the deficit to 101-95.

Quinto widened Meralco’s lead to 103-95 with a minute left with a layup before NLEX cut it to 101-103 on back-to-back three-pointers by rookie Calvin Oftana.

With a second remaining in the game, Bolts’ Raymond Almazan drilled his first free throw before intentionally missing the second to preserve the victory.

Allein Maliksi top-scored with 22 points, including four triples, while rookie Alvin Pasaol and Rey Mark Belo added 17 and 16 markers, respectively, for the Bolts.

Raymond Almazan had double-double 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Quinto and Ilonggo Antonio Jose Caram each finished with 10 markers for Meralco.

With the victory, the Bolts secured the No. 2 spot and twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals with its 7-2 win-loss slate. They will close their elimination round match against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings today.

Oftana tallied career-high 34 points, while Negrense Raul Soyud and JR Quiñahan added 14 and 13 points, respectively, as the Road Warriors dropped to 5-6 slate./ASC, WDJ

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