Meralco clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter and blanked Blackwater late to score the 102-91 victory Sunday in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts overturned an 80-72 deficit coming into the fourth quarter and went on an 18-4 charge to finally take a 90-84 lead midway.
Meralco outscored the Elite, 30-11, in the payoff period to grab their sixth win in seven outings.
“Offensively, it took us a while to figure them out. But our defense won us this game tonight and we played much better in the second half,” said coach Norman Black, as his side improved to a 6-1 slate.
Jared Dillinger topped Meralco with 21 points, three rebounds, three steals, and two assists, while Alex Stepheson had 18 markers, 15 boards, five dimes, and two steals.
However, it was Kelly Nabong who sparked the fightback as he unloaded 11 of his 13 points in the fourth canto, on top of nine rebounds.
The Bolts now take a 17-day break before returning to action against Phoenix on May 3 after the All-Star Week.
Greg Smith carried Blackwater with 19 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, three steals, and three blocks, but was limited to just two points in the fourth quarter.
“Our defense was much stronger in the second half, especially against Smith. We did a better job of keeping Alex matched up with Smith instead of having a local on him at all times,” said Black.
Michael DiGregorio added 16 markers on a 3-of-8 shooting from threes, while Nino Cañaleta had 14 for the Elite, which dropped to a 1-5 record.
MERALCO 102 – Dillinger 21, Stepheson 18, Newsome 14, Nabong 13, Amer 12, Hugnatan 9, Daquioag 7, Yeo 4, Chua 4, Uyloan 0, Caram 0.
BLACKWATER 91 – Smith 19, DiGregorio 16, Canaleta 14, Pascual 8, Pinto 7, Sena 7, Cruz 5, Aguilar 5, Buenafe 5, Cervantes 3, Miranda 2, Sumang 0.
Quarters: 22-24, 44-48, 72-80, 102-91.