The Meralco Bolts zapped the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, 91-80, in the final game of the Wednesday playdate of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup at the Ynares Center in Pasig.
Meralco zoomed off to a quick 11-2 start, but Phoenix eventually picked up the slack and whittled the lead down to one, 17-16. The Bolts then ended the quarter with a 21-16 lead.
The game was marred by a 30-minute delay when heavy rain caused the venue's roof to leak, which made the floor slippery and unfit to play at the 4:07 mark of the second quarter. It resumed at around 6:50 p.m., with the Bolts ahead, 33-27.
PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial actually floated the idea of resetting the game to 0-0 if it was cancelled, which concerned the veteran coach.
"We were ahead by seven points, so I wasn't too happy with that. But that's the rules, so we would have had to abide by the rules. But luckily, the rain let up, and we were able to continue the game," recalled head coach Norman Black.
As play resumed, Meralco regained its lost momentum by eight straight points to take a 41-26 lead with three minutes left in the first half. The Bolts led 48-32 at intermission.
Meralco led by as many as 21, 84-63, in the fourth, and pulled away to register their third win in four tries. Phoenix, on the other hand, continued their lackluster start at 1-3.
Allein Maliksi led the way for the Bolts with 24 points and seven rebounds, while Chris Newsome scored an additional 23 points, dished out seven dimes, and stole the ball six times.
"Our mindset was defense. I think it's very important to keep our minds on the defensive end because we can't allow our offense to dictate how we played, I think that's what happened a little bit last game so we want to come out and show our defensive intensity throughout the whole game," said Newsome.
Phoenix guard Matthew Wright led all scorers with 29 points but turned the ball over five times.
Chris Banchero made his season debut for the Fuel Masters after missing the first three contests due to a calf injury. He played a shade over 27 minutes and registered a point, three assists, and three turnovers.
MERALCO (91) -- Maliksi 24, Newsome 23, Pinto 11, Hugnatan 11, Belo 9, Almazan 3, Hodge 7, Black 3, Quinto 0, Jackson 0, Canete 0, Jamito 0.
PHOENIX (80) -- Wright 29, Manuel 13, Jazul 12, Perkins 9, , Chua 4 , Pascual, 4, Demusis 3, Garcia 3, Faundo 2, Banchero 1, Muyang 0, Melecio 0, Rios 0. Quarter Scores: 21-16, 48-32, 73-57, 91-80.
- Meralco's defense forced 21 turnovers that was converted to 28 points.
- The Bolts also outhustled the Fuel Masters on the boards, 59-40.
Meralco vs Alaska on Saturday, July 31, 4:35 p.m., at Ynares Pasig
Phoenix Super LPG vs Blackwater on Saturday, July 31, 2 p.m., at Ynares Pasig