Maliksi sparks late breakaway as Meralco avoids Blackwater upset axe
MERALCO returned to its winning ways, fending off Blackwater, 125-99, on Saturday in the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center.
Meralco vs Blackwater recap
Allein Maliksi contributed a game-high 30 points as the Bolts led by as many as 28 in the wire-to-wire victory, but still needed a barrage of points in the fourth quarter to avert a last-gasp rally by the Bossing.
With the win, Meralco avoided another upset after losing to Terrafirma in its previous outing, improving its card to 3-1.
The unsung hero for Meralco, however, was third-string guard Anjo Caram, who had 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. He had four threes, all of which coming in the first half that allowed the Bolts to grab a 67-50 lead.
A 10-0 blast after Blackwater came to within seven points, 94-87, the closest in the contest, cemented Meralco’s win.
“We just focused on this game,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We can’t really worry about what happened in the last game. We just have to worry about what’s going to happen tonight.”
Black also added the team prepared with the possibility that Blackwater will field a new import in Troy Williams. The Bossing, however, opted to stick with Shawn Glover for the match-up.
Glover had 20 points, while RK Ilagan had 15 points while leading the Blackwater comeback bid in the fourth that eventually sputtered.
Meralco also spoiled the return of Troy Rosario, who was reactivated before the game. He finished with 11 points.
Meralco 125 – Maliksi 30, McDaniels 24, Black 19, Caram 18, Newsome 12, Pascual 6, Banchero 5, Almazan 4, Quinto 3, Hodge 2, Pasaol 2, Dario 0, Johnson 0, Hugnatan 0.
Blackwater 99 – Glover 20, Ilagan 15, Amer 14, Casio 13, Rosario 11, Ular 8, Sena 6, DiGregorio 4, Ayonayon 4, Torralba 2, Taha 2, McCarthy 0, Hill 0, Banal 0.
Quarters: 31-22; 67-50; 91-78; 125-99.