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Meralco survives early Walker onslaught, ousts gritty Blackwater

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Blackwater looked to be on track of scoring a huge knockout.

Meralco, however, came alive in the second half.

Behind an explosion from birthday boy Baser Amer, the top-seeded Bolts moved on to the semifinals of the PBA Governors' Cup with a 104-96 victory in the rubber match of their quarterfinal series against the eighth-seeded yet resilient Elite at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Thursday night.

Meralco got off to a hot start as Amer and Allen Durham led the team to a 13-5 lead.

However, Poy Erram sparked Blackwater's rally as the team would score 13 unanswered points to go up, 22-17, later in the period.

Five straight points from Ranidel De Ocampo capped the opening period with the game tied, 22-all.

Henry Walker then caught fire from downtown, making four straight three-pointers, the last from even beyond the NBA arc, as the Elite opened a 52-40 advantage at halftime.

The second half belonged to the Bolts, scoring 33 points in the third and 31 in the final frame while limiting the Elite to only 19 in the last 12 minutes.

Amer finished with 31 points on 11-of-17 shooting, four rebounds, and three assists for Meralco, which will face Star in the semifinals beginning Sunday.

Durham added a near 20-20 triple-double of 18 points, 20 rebounds, and nine assists, but he suffered an ankle injury that could make him questionable for the semifinal opener.

Garvo Lanete and Jared Dillinger each had five triples and finished with 17 and 15 markers respectively.

Walker finished with 34 points for Blackwater but was limited to only seven in the second half.

Box Scores:

Meralco 104-Amer 31, Durham 18, Lanete 17, Dillinger 15, De Ocampo 14, Newsome 7, Hodge 2, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Nabong 0, Tolomia 0

Blackwater 96-Walker 34, Erram 18, Digregorio 11, Maliksi 10, Canaleta 6, Marcelo 6, Belo 5, Sumang 4, Pinto 2

Quarterscores: 22-22, 40-52, 73-77, 104-96

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno