Meralco lost its lead late in regulation but came up with big plays in the dying seconds of overtime to edge Blackwater, 102-98, in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Import KJ McDaniels blocked a potential go-ahead layup by Barkley Ebona before Allein Maliksi sank a three-pointer that broke a 96-all deadlock, eventually securing another hard-fought victory for the Bolts.
McDaniels had 26 points, 16 rebounds and five assists while Maliksi added 16 as Meralco won back-to-back games after a 1-5 start, all after the former came in to replace the inefficient Johnny O’Bryant.
“We have uplifted our level of play in the last two games with him (McDaniels) even though it’s difficult. But at the same time all the wins we can get are very important,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
The Bolts are now tied for 10th spot with the NLEX Road Warriors and trail the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and NorthPort Batang Pier, sharing seventh and eighth at 4-5, and ninth-placer San Miguel Beermen who tote a 3-4 card.
But Meralco failed to close it out in the fourth when Blackwater forced a five-minute extension despite trailing by 11, with Mike Ayonayon scoring the tying basket at 89-all with two seconds left.
It was Blackwater’s fourth straight loss, dropping to 11th at 3-7. Only Terrafirma has a worse record with its winless slate of eight straight defeats.
Import Cameron Krutwig finished with 23 points, 19 rebounds and six assists for the slumping Bossing.
MERALCO 102 — McDaniels 26, Black 18, Banchero 17, Maliksi 16, Quinto 12, Pasaol 6, Caram 4, Pascual 3, Almazan 0, Hodge 0.
BLACKWATER 98 — Krutwig 23, Ular 15, Banal 14, Jackson 14, Ayonayon 11, Taha 8, McCarthy 7, Melton 3, Suerte 3, Dyke 0, Sena 0, Ebona 0.
Quarters: 21-15, 42-41, 67-64, 89-89 (Reg), 102-98 (OT).
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