By JAY R. GOTERA
MANILA — In a battle between two resurgent teams, the Meralco Bolts turned out to be the tougher one, beating the previously unbeaten Alaska Aces, 99-91, in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup Saturday night.
The Bolts thus secured their fifth win after suffering their first loss last Sunday at the hands of the three-peat Philippine Cup champions San Miguel Beermen.
The game result left Star (4-0) and San Miguel Beer (2-0) as the only undefeated teams in the conference.
The Bolts got the “W” after building an early lead, padding it to as much as 25 points in the fourth quarter, and then withstanding a furious Alaska charge in the endgame.
Baser Amer continued playing impressively for Meralco, finishing with a team-high 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 41 minutes.
Import Alex Stepheson strongly backed the 24-year-old Meralco point guard with 26 huge rebounds and 17 points.
Jared Dillinger added 15 markers, firing eight of them in the fourth quarter.
Meralco coach Norman Black also got huge contribution from big man Justin Chua after he surprisingly included him in the team’s starting five. Averaging just 3.8 points per game, Chua finished with 14 points on 5-for-9 field goal shooting.
Chris Newsome added 14 points as well.
Meralco was ahead by 25 points, 91-66, with six minutes remaining, when the Aces suddenly went wild, going on a 12-0 run to cut the Bolts’ lead to 13, at 91-78.
Alaska further cut the lead to 10, at 93-83.
Amer finally stopped the bleeding for Meralco with a huge basket as the Bolts cruised to victory.
Blackwater 118, GlobalPort 113
Two winless teams engaged in fierce dogfight with the Blackwater Elite finally emerging on top with a 118-113 win over the hapless GlobalPort Batang Pier.
It was Blackwater’s first win in five games while GlobalPort absorbed a fourth straight setback.
Blackwater import Greg Smith dominated the game, finishing witrh 40 points, 19 boards, and four assists in 41 minutes, while Mike DiGregorio led the locals with 18 markers. Reil Cervantes added 14 markers while JR Sena chipped in 10 points.
The victory spoiled the PBA debut of new GlobalPort import Malcolm White who replaced lacklustre import Sean Williams. White tallied 33 points, 17 boards, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in 36 minutes.
GlobalPort suffered yet another bitter loss despite top gunner Terrence Romeo finally showing his offensive clout, finishing with a team-high 35 points on a scintillating 13-of-18 shooting from the field, including nine three-pointers. Romeo also had four boards, and four assists in 30 minutes.
Games Sunday: TNT KaTropa Texters (3-1) vs. Mahindra Floodbuster (1-2) and Star Hotshots (4-0) vs. Barangay Ginebra Kings (1-1).