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Seoul SK subdues Meralco to clinch 3rd place in FIBA Asia CC

The Knights take the bronze as the Bolts missed out on the podium. FIBA
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA -- Even in club basketball play, South Korea knows how to give the Philippines heartbreaks.

Reigning Korean Basketball League champion Seoul SK turned back PBA Governors' Cup runner-up Meralco, 91-87, in the bronze medal match of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup at the Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand on Tuesday night.

In a battle--and its eventual outcome--reminiscent of how both their respective countries' national teams went at it in recent years, the Knights denied the Bolts a podium finish in their debut stint in the tournament pitting the top teams from Asia's basketball hotbeds.

After a tight first quarter, Seoul SK threatened to pull away late in the second quarter, countering Meralco's 9-0 run to start the period with a 17-0 run that gave Seoul SK a 44-34 lead before settling for a 46-38 advantage come halftime.

The Bolts then had their own late third quarter run as KG Canaleta came alive with huge triples that helped overturn a 42-53 deficit to a 63-59 lead.

However, Choi Won-Hyuk ended the quarter with a long triple that cut the lead down to one, 63-62.

That sparked the Knights's 11-0 blast that put them up for good, 70-63, and they held off the Bolts down the stretch.

DaJuan Summers made 26 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two blocks, and one steal for Seoul SK before he fouled out of the game.

An Young-Jun added 17 points, one rebound, one assist, and two steals.

In his swan song, Diamond Steel made 32 points, 13 rebounds, and two assists for Meralco as he carried the load following Allen Durham's struggles.

Durham needed 23 attempts to score 21 points as he only picked up steam late in the game.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno