Meralco scaled back from a 16-point third quarter deficit to claim a 109-98 victory in its PBA Philippine Cup debut Saturday, June 11 at the Ynares Center of Antipolo.
Chris Newsome scored 21 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists. While Reynel Hugnatan poured, 10 of his 17 points were instrumental in the rally that enabled the Bolts to begin their campaign in the season-opening conference on a winning note.
Aaron Black, Allein Maliksi, Raymond Almazan, and Bong Quinto finished with 12 or more as Meralco kept Phoenix winless in the game.
Meanwhile, the Fuel Masters drew 28 points from Jason Perkins. Matther Wright chipped in 16 while RJ Jazul 13 as they dropped to 0-2.
Perkins gave the team that 16-point gap at 77-61, less than four minutes to go in the period.
Nevertheless, Hugnutan scored eight during a 14-2 run and Meralco closed the deficit to 79-75 going into the fourth.
Newsome’s three, under eight minutes remaining in the contest, put Meralco ahead for good at 88-87, and then he and Black joined forces in stretching the margin.
Up next for Norman Black and his charges is Converge, which is coming off an exciting overtime victory over conference finalist Magnolia.
Phoenix meanwhile, wishes to break through when it plays Terrafirma, an injury-hit club also looking for a first win in the conference.
Meralco 109 – Newsome 21, Black 19, Hugnutan 17, Maliksi 15, Almazan 12, Quinto 12, Hodge 5, Banchero 4, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Jose 0, Pascual 0, Baclao 0.
Phoenix 98 – Perkins 28, Wright 16, Jazul 13, Mocon 10, Tio 9, Serrano 7, Garcia 6, Lalata 4, Rios 3, Melecio 2, Porter 0.
Quarters; 23-23, 45-51, 75-79, 109-98