San Miguel snaps Meralco's hot streak on late surge


By Ivan Saldajeno

LEGAZPI--In last year's PBA Commissioner's Cup, Meralco started the conference 5-0 only to be snapped in an out-of-town action.

On Saturday night, the Bolts saw their blazing start ending at yet another non-Metro Manila game.

Both instances came against one team.

San Miguel once again played streak-buster on Meralco with a 94-86 victory at the Ibalong Center.

It took a late fourth quarter run by the Beermen to wreck havoc on the Bolts' 5-0 start.

With the majority close game tied at 74-all, San Miguel went on a 10-2 run to lead, 84-76, with 3:15 remaining.

Meralco inched closer, going for a 6-2 rally of its own to cut the lead to four, 86-82, with 1:47 to go.

The team, however, suffered a huge blow as Kelly Nabong was whistled with a flagrant foul penalty 2 after a hard contact against Junemar Fajardo, effectively sending him off the game with 1:28 left.

Fajardo only made one of two free throws after the Nabong disqualification but made up for that with a 15-foot jumper to stretch the Beermen's lead to seven, 89-82, with 1:19 remaining.

Arinze Onuaku kept the Bolts in the game with back-to-back putbacks to trim the gap anew to three, 89-86, with 16.2 seconds remaining.

Tyler Wilkerson, who had a hard time in converting his field goals, made two free throws off a quick foul to put the Beermen up by five with 14.9 seconds left.

Their defense then forced Gary David to an errant pass, leading to a dagger triple by Wilkerson at the buzzer from 29 feet.

Despite making only 6-of-16 from the field and committing seven turnovers, Wilkerson banked on a stable 13-of-17 free throw clip to tally 27 points along with ten rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal for SMB, which now shares the longest active winning streak of the tournament with fellow Philippine Cup finalist Alaska at three.

Onuaku finished with 28 points, 30 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks for Meralco.

Box Scores:

San Miguel 94-Wilkerson 27, Espinas 13, Cabagnot 10, Lassiter 10, Fajardo 9, Ross 9, Santos 7, Arana 5, Lutz 4, Reyes 0, Semerad 0, De Ocampo 0

Meralco 86-Onuaku 28, David 12, Faundo 8, Newsome 8, Buenafe 6, Dillinger 6, Hodge 4, Hugnatan 4, Alapag 2, Amer 2, Bono 2, Caram 2, Nabong 2

Quarterscores: 19-13, 44-44, 62-63, 94-86

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