Columbian holds off Meralco, snaps skid

Rashawn McCarthy erupted for 30 points as he also came up big down the stretch. Kennelf Monteza

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Columbian regained its winning form on Wednesday night by subduing Meralco, 86-85, in the resumption of the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

In the league's first game after a two-week FIBA World Cup Qualifiers break, the Dyip got back to their winning ways by stunning the Bolts, whose late run fell short.

Columbian actually recovered from a lethargic start as Meralco limited its opponent to just 11 points in the first quarter and opened a 13-point lead at the end of the period.

The Dyip responded with a 31-point second quarter to cut the Bolts lead down to two, 45-42, at halftime.

Columbian opened the third quarter with five unanswered points to take a 47-45 lead.

Meralco regained control after going on an 11-4 run to go up, 56-51, midway through the period.

But an 8-0 run put the Dyip back on top, 59-56, with 2:42 to play in the third, signaling a down-the-wire finish.

They tried to pull away at the start of the fourth, scoring six straight points to break a 66-all tie at the end of the third and go up, 72-66.

But the Bolts still never wavered, going on a 9-2 blast to reclaim the lead, 80-79, with 5:45 left.

Columbian answered with a 7-0 run to put the team ahead once more, 86-80, with 2:29 to go.

Meralco still had one final push as Chris Newsome made a 5-0 run to trim the lead down to one with only 38 seconds left.

The team even had a chance to win it as CJ Perez missed the dagger triple in the next play, but Baser Amer and Cliff Hodge missed their jump shots as time expired.

Rashawn McCarthy dropped 30 points, five in the game-turning 7-0 run, eight rebounds, and three assists for the Dyip, who snapped a three-game slide and moved up to 3-4.

Glenn Khobutin added 14 points, five rebounds, one assist, and two steals off the bench.

Newsome put up 17 points, five rebounds, two dimes, two steals, and one block for the Bolts, who fell to 2-4.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno