Meralco subdues depleted Phoenix

Gani Lawal posted a 20-20 for the Bolts. PBA Images

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Meralco held off a Phoenix squad lacking key figures with a 101-95 win in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday night.

The Bolts pulled off the turnaround in the third quarter, scoring 34 points to take an 80-72 lead entering the final frame.

The Fuel Masters still mounted a comeback, trimming the lead down to one, 94-93, with 1:32 to play, but the Bolts finished the game on a 7-2 run to seal the victory.

Gani Lawal erupted for 28 points, 26 rebounds, two assists, three blocks, and one steal for Meralco, which moved up to 3-2, tying Alaska for fourth place.

Baser Amer added 20 points, four rebounds, and four assists.

Raymond Almazan had a quiet debut for Meralco, only tallying three markers, all on free throws, one carom, one dime, and one steal off the bench in almost 13 minutes of play.

Matt Wright put up 20 points, four assists, and one steal for Phoenix, which dearly missed Calvin Abueva and Coach Louie Alas due to suspensions and Rob Dozier due to an injury.

Richard Howell, who took over Dozier's post as import for now, struggled in his PBA comeback, only making eight points on 4-of-12 shooting, nine rebounds, and one assist.

Jason Perkins added 16 markers, 13 boards, one dime, one steal, and one block.

The scores:

Meralco 101 - Lawal 28, Amer 20, Newsome 18, Salva 15, Quinto 8, De Ocampo 6, Almazan 3, Pinto 3, Hodge 0, Jackson 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0.

Phoenix 95 - Wright 20, Perkins 16, Jazul 12, Marcelo 10, Howell 8, Mallari 7, Chua 6, Dennison 5, Intal 5, Kramer 4, Revilla 2, Wilson 0.

Quarters: 21-19, 46-47, 80-72, 101-95.

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