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Meralco prevails over NorthPort in 2OT thriller

Chris Newsome and Mo Tautuaa converted on highlight reel alley-oop plays in crunch time, but Newsome walked away victorious with his team. PBA Media Group

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Meralco survived a double overtime marathon with NorthPort and took a 126-123 win in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

Baser Amer and Stanley Pringle engaged in a scoring battle in the second extension, but the former had the last laugh as the Bolts got a slight push away from the bottom of the team standings.

They were actually on the verge of losing in regulation as the Batang Pier held a 106-100 lead with only 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

But Chris Newsome made two free throws and stole the ball from Sean Anthony, leading to a Cliff Hodge baby hook that trimmed the lead down to two, 106-104, with six seconds left.

Anthony once again turned the ball over as Nico Salva swiped the ball from behind, and Newsome scored on a fantastic alley-oop off a timeout to force the first overtime.

NorthPort opened the first extension with five straight points to go back up, 111-106, but Meralco responded with a 7-2 run to tie the game anew at 113-all.

Pringle actually had a good look for a potential game-winning teardrop, but his floater just rimmed out.

The Bolts then started the next five minutes with an 8-0 run capped by back-to-back triples from Amer for a 121-113 lead with 2:12 to play.

Pringle scored on four straight layups to trim the lead back to two, 123-121, with 31 seconds left.

Newsome put some breathing room by draining two free throws with 12 seconds left, but Mo Tautuaa duplicated Newsome's eye-in-the-sky play in regulation with his own alley-oop finish off the inbound just a second later.

Salva opened an opportunity for the Batang Pier to force another overtime as he only made a split from the free throw line with 2.8 seconds left.

But Pringle could not handle the ball properly off the inbound pass, and eventually lost the ball as time expired.

Newsome put up 28 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, four steals, and one block for Meralco, which moved up to 3-5.

Amer and Hodge each added 23 points.

Pringle put up 33 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Anthony had 31 markers, 16 boards, four dimes, and three swipes for NorthPort, which fell to 2-4.

The scores:

Meralco 126 - Newsome 28, Amer 23, Hodge 23, Salva 16, De Ocampo 15, Jackson 11, Quinto 4, Hugnatan 4, Pinto 2, Caram 0, Faundo 0.

NorthPort 123 - Pringle 33, Anthony 31, Tautuaa 21, Grey 15, Bolick 5, Taha 4, Elorde 4, Guinto 4, Flores 2, Arana 2, Sollano 2, Gabayni 0, Lanete 0.

Quarters: 28-22, 49-46, 76-72, 106-106, 126-123.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno