Meralco stepped on the gas pedal late, turning back NLEX, 106-93 to notch its first win in Petron Saturday Special of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Chris Newsome and rookie Ed Daquioag paired up in the fourth quarter as the Bolts went on a decisive 16-3 tear to turn a close 87-84 affair to a 103-87 lead within the final two minutes.
Newsome, the reigning Rookie of the Year, unleashed 20 of his 28 points in the second half, to go with 10 rebounds, and four assists, while Daquioag fired 23 markers, 10 of which coming in the fourth quarter pullaway to score the breakthrough win for Meralco.
“We felt it was very important we matched the energy of NLEX in this game from the start,” said coach Norman Black, obviously taking notes from the Road Warriors’ win over Alaska.
Cliff Hodge also had 12 points, five boards, and four dimes, while Anjo Caram and Kelly Nabong both had 11.
More than anything, Black is just happy to chalk one in the win column after Meralco’s disastrous Philippine Cup run last season.
“This is a huge win for us. I’m happy to get that first win and hopefully, we can continue winning in our upcoming games,” he said.
Sean Anthony paced NLEX with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Garvo Lanete, Eric Camson, and Raul Soyud all had 14 in the loss.
MERALCO 106 – Newsome 28, Daquioag 23, Hodge 12, Caram 11, Nabong 11, Yeo 7, Grey 6, Chua 4, Al-Hussaini 2, Faundo 2, Amer 0, Bono 0, Hugnatan 0, Uyloan 0.
NLEX 93 – Anthony 15, Camson 14, Lanete 14, Soyud 14, Alas 10, Lastimosa 10, J. Villanueva 7, Baracael 5, Guinto 4, Khobuntin 0, Monfort 0, Taulava 0.
Quarters: 21-25, 56-54, 79-77, 106-93.