Bolts Recover in Time to Book Semifinal Slot

Amer led the Bolts as Durham gets hurt late

Amer played one of the best games in his career to lead the Bolts (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
The Blackwater Elite knew that they were facing a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the top-seeded team, Meralco Bolts when they first faced off against last Tuesday to open the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors’ Cup. It seemed that the disadvantaged didn’t bother Allen Maliksi who completed the Elite’s comeback win when he drained that game winner in the dying seconds of Tuesday’s battle. As a result, both teams get another chance to decide which of them will have the honor of dancing against the Star Hotshots in the semifinals.
They fell behind during most of the first half. Henry Walker was torching them early on. Their own import, Allen Durham got hurt in the 4th quarter and yet, the Meralco Bolts will now face the Star Hotshots in the semifinals after eliminating the Blackwater, 104-96.
Wanting to make up for their slow start last Tuesday when they fell, 24-17 at the end of quarter number 1, the Bolts went firing on all cylinders as Baser Amer scored 5 points during the opening minutes of the game after missing most of Tuesday’s game due to injury that he sustained just a few seconds into the game.

However, shortly after the Bolts held an 8-point lead, the Elite went on a scoring to take the lead, at 18-18 with under 4 minutes to play, thanks to Maliksi’s 3-point play. Maliksi later added another jumper with under 2 minutes remaining in the opening quarter to increase the Elite’s lead to 5, forcing Norman Black to signal that he needed a timeout. The Bolts went 4 minutes without scoring a field goal, a spell that was only broken by Ranidel de Ocampo who went on his 5-point run to tie the score at 22 apiece with a minute to play.

In the second quarter, the Bolts took the lead on multiple occasions but their inconsistency allowed the Elite to take the lead and that lead increased to 33-28 on Henry Walker’s three-point shot 3 minutes into the quarter. Walker scored on a 3-point play to furthermore push the lead to 8. Eventually, Garvo Lanete contributed on a Meralco run as his three-pointer gave them the lead at 37-36 only to be answered by Walker who made a pair of three-pointers of his own to make it 42-37 with under 4 minutes before halftime. He also drained another three-pointer to give Blackwater their first taste of a double-digit lead.
The Elite took a 52-40 into the halftime break as Henry Walker led the way with 27 points which included a 6 of 11 shooting from rainbow distance and, 11 rebounds. JP Eram had 11 points in the first half to go along with 5 boards. Blackwater held a double-digit lead at the half thanks to their three-point shooting which saw them make 6 of 18 attempts, all by Walker. Allen Durham had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead Meralco. The Bolts were outmuscled on the boards at 33-25 and were outscored on second-chance points at 7-4.
Meralco then started the 3rd quarter by trimming down the Elite’s lead to 6 thanks to Baser Amer who completed a 3-point play. But Allen Maliksi drained a 3-pointer to bring the lead back to 11 only to be answered by an Allen Durham basket off an offensive rebound. Mike Digregorio later answered with another trey for the Elite and Ranidel de Ocampo added another one from long distance to keep the lead down at 8 with under 8 minutes to go in the quarter.  The lead went down to as lowest as three after de Ocampo completed a 3-point play with 5:40 to play. 
Finally, the Bolts grabbed the lead for the since the first half after Jared Dillinger drained another trey for Meralco, making it 68-67 with 2:52 remaining in the 3rd. After making 6 threes in the first half, Henry Walker finally drained his first one in the second during the final 5 seconds of the quarter as Blackwater took a 77-73 lead into the fourth quarter.
If anything, the Meralco Bolts found their shooting touch back in the 3rd as they started the fourth quarter with a series of three-pointers from Baser Amer, Garvo Lanete and the last one, on Jared Dillinger’s trey to put the Bolts up by 87-84 with under 9 minutes to play, prompting Leo Isaac to call for a timeout. 
Just when everyone thought that things were starting to go the Bolts’ way, Allen Durham was hurt after landing awkwardly while driving for a lay-up. He was taken to the bench and was attended by the trainers. He later returned to the game and scored 4 straight points to widen the lead to 99-91 with less than 4 minutes to spare. Dillinger again, drained another bomb from the 3-point line to put the Bolts up 10 with under 2 minutes left and that proved to be the dagger that put the life out of the Elite, for good.
Baser Amer led the Bolts with 31 points while making 4 of his 7 attempts from downtown. Allen Durham added 18 points to go with his 20 rebounds and 9 assists. Garvo Lanete provided the needed spark off the bench with 17 markers which were built on 5 makes from rainbow country. Dillinger finished with 15 points. Ranidel de Ocampo added 14 as the Bolts recovered from their early struggles especially when it comes to shooting threes as they finished the game by making 41% of their attempts from that area. 
Overall, Meralco made 46%  of their shots as compared to the Elite who only managed to make 39% of their total attempts.
Henry Walker concluded his stint with Blackwater with 34 points, but only scoring 7 of them after the halftime break. JP Eram added 18 points while Mike Digregorio scored 10 points. Allen Maliksi only had 10 points on a miserable 3 of 11 field goal shooting.
Scores:
Meralco – 104
Amer 31, Durham 18, Lanete 17, Dilinger 15, de Ocampo 14, Newsome 7, Hodge 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurita 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Nabong 0, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0
Blackwater – 96
Walker 34, Eram 18, Digregorio 11, Maliksi 10, Canaleta 6, Marcelo 6, Belo 5, Sumang 4, Pinto 2, Miranda 0, Banal 0, Sena 0, Cervantes 0, Cruz 0, Ellis 0, Javier 0
Quarter scoring:
22-22, 40-52, 73-77, 104-96

Durham, Bolts Erase 18-point Lead, Stun SMB

Meralco Claims Number 1 Spot after Comeback Win

Jared Dillinger scored 16 points off the bench to spark the Bolts’ comeback. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

The good news for the Meralco Bolts is, they only need to win their final game to claim the number 1 spot entering the quarterfinals. The bad news is, they needed to do it against a San Miguel team which they haven’t beaten since 2015.
Nope. Not this time around, Beermen. The Meralco Bolts came back from an 18-point deficit to claim the number 1 spot after stunning the San Miguel Beermen, 104-101.
Hoping to continue their mastery of the Bolts, the San Miguel Beermen jumped to a double-digit lead early on. The Bolts were struggling to get anything going in their offense as the Beermen’s defense continuously forced them into committing turnovers which the Beerman would convert into points on the other end.Throughout the 2nd quarter, the Bolts were struggling miserably as they shot only 37% in the field including a 27% 3-point shooting.
San Miguel for their part, shot way better in the field, making 47% of their shot attempts in the first half including 53% from the 2-point area. The lead went down at 8 after a Baser Amer lay-up with 66 seconds left before halftime. On the ensuing possession, Marcio Lassiter nailed a trey to put the lead back to double-digits. June Mar Fajardo already had 10 points by halftime. So is Marcio Lassiter. So is import Terrence Watson. Meanwhile, Allen Durham did have 10 points but was continuously struggling to make his shots against the suffocating defense of the Beermen which forced him to make only 4 of his 13 attempts in the first 24 minutes of action.
The Beermen continued pouring in the points in the shaded area to start off the 3rd quarter with Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot.Chris Ross who went scoreless in San Miguel’s previous game, another 3-pointer a few possessions later and a shot by Fajardo put the lead up to 17, forcing Norman Black to call a timeout 3 minutes into the quarter.  Fajardo later added another dunk after a bad pass by the Bolts player.
S0an Miguel’s lead then ballooned to 18 points after a jumper by Watson. Meralco tried to chip away at the lead as Mike Tolomia scored on a lay-up to bring the lead down to 16 but the Beermen were able to answer every basket that the Bolts made. Meralco came back roaring as they cut down the lead to 10 with a trey from Tolomia with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd. San Miguel brought a 12-point lead coming into the final quarter.
A goaltending violation against San Miguel cut down the Beermen’s lead to 7 in the opening minutes of the fourth as Reynel Hugnatan nailed a jumper to furthermore bring down the lead to just 5, forcing San Miguel Coach Leo Austria to call time.

After back-to-back made baskets by Fajardo, Allen Durham another trey with under 6 minutes on the clock only to be answered by another basket by Fajardo. A pair of charities by Cliff Hodge brought Meralco within 2 with under 5 minutes to play.

After the Beermen increased their lead back to 9, Meralco charged back right away, just trailing 96-92 with under 3 minutes to go until Jared Dillinger drained another trey cut down the lead just to 1. After a Watson basket, Amer scored on another three-pointer to tie the game at 98 apiece with 1:24 to go. Durham gave Meralco its first taste of the lead on a driving lay-up against Fajardo with under a minute to play. Chris Ross answered right back with another trey to give the Beermen a 101-100 lead heading into the final 40 seconds. Durham scored on his own missed shot to put his team back up 102-101 with under 28 seconds remaining.

San Miguel still had one more chance to take the lead but Fajardo’s shot was heavily contested and Meralco was able to grab the ensuing rebound and call an all-important timeout with 4 seconds on the clock. Durham added two more free throws as San Miguel ran out of time on the other end.

Allen Durham led the way for the Bolts with his 35 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Dillinger added 16 while Chris Newsome finished with 14 points. Baser Amer also contributed 13 points. For the losing team, Fajardo had 26 points to go along with his 8 rebounds. Terrence Watson and Marcio Lassiter had 18 points each while Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross finished with 16 and 10 respectively.

While the starters of San Miguel produced their usual numbers, it was the bench scoring that allowed Meralco to mount a comeback and eventually, helped them win the game.

Scores:
Meralco – 104
Durham 35, Dilinger 16, Newsome 14, Amer 13, Hodge 8, Tolomia 8, De Ocampo 6, Hugnatan 2, Nabong 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Lanete 0, Sedurita 0, Caram 0, Faundo 0
San Miguel – 101
Fajardo 26, Watson 18, Lassiter 18, Cabagnot 16, Ross 10, Santos 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes  0, Agovida 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0
Quarter scores:
19-31, 39-51, 69-81,104-101 
Jared Dilinger scored 16 points off the bench to spark the Bolts’ comeback. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)