|Chris Newsome came up with clutch free throws to save the Bolts from a huge collapse. PBA Images|
MANILA--Meralco barely dodged a bullet on Thursday night after a late Rain Or Shine run came up short, leaving the former run away with an 85-78 PBA win at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
The Bolts thought they can already cruise to a blowout win after outscoring the Elasto Painters, 28-7, in the third quarter to take a 74-51 lead.
However, ROS came back within the last nine minutes of the fourth quarter and cut the lead down to just six, 82-76, with 45.4 seconds left.
Meralco escaped after clutch free throws from Chris Newsome finally sealed the win.
Newsome finished with 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists for the Bolts, who tied the Phoenix Fuel Masters for fourth place in the team standings at 5-3, putting them in a good position to land a Top 4 spot come the quarterfinals, which will mean a twice-to-beat advantage in the next round.
Baser Amer added 14 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
James Yap put up a vintage performance of 18 markers, seven boards, and two dimes for the Elasto Painters, but the veteran superstar, who is known for his clutch performance during his prime days with the Magnolia Hotshots, was not fielded in during the dying moments of the game.
Rey Nambatac, who has been clutch for ROS, was also not inserted to the final seconds of the match as the team fell to sixth place at 4-3.
Meralco 85-Newsome 17, Amer 14, Hugnatan 13, Maliksi 9, Hodge 8, Quinto 8, Jamito 6, Black 5, Almazan 4, Pinto 1, Jackson 0
Rain Or Shine 78-Yap 18, Torres 11, Belga 11, Nambatac 8, Borboran 6, Wong 6, Tolentino 6, Mocon 5, Onwubere 3, Norwood 2, Ponferada 2, Rosales 0
Quarterscores: 27-28, 46-44, 74-51, 85-78
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