|Another brilliant performance from Chris Newsome. PBA Images|
MANILA--Meralco kept its poise down the stretch to edge Blackwater, 89-85, in their PBA meeting at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center on Wednesday.
Up 68-59 early in the fourth quarter, the Bolts found themselves in a tough situation after the Elite launched a 9-2 run that cut the lead down to just two, 70-68, with 7:22 to play.
However, a crucial offensive foul on Don Trollano sparked a four-point swing that stretched Meralco's lead back to six, 74-68, with 6:44 remaining.
Blackwater still got to within two again, 73-75, with four and a half minutes left to play, but an 8-2 Meralco rally before the two-minute warning all but sealed the deal as the latter kept the former at bay until the end.
However, the match did not end without some late drama as Toto Jose and KG Canaleta figured in an altercation that led to them being thrown out of the game with the outcome already settled.
Chris Newsome put up 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists for the Bolts, who won despite giving up 26 turnovers.
"The game was not a pretty game. We had too many turnovers. We made a lot of mistakes down the stretch, but we did enough to win the basketball game and that's all that's really important right now," said Coach Norman Black.
Bong Quinto and Reynel Hugnatan each added 14 points for Meralco, which climbed to a tie with Rain Or Shine for fifth place at 4-3.
Trollano put up 16 markers, six rebounds, one steal, and one block for Blackwater, which fell to its fourth straight loss and dropped to 2-5.
The team played for the first time since letting go of Paul Desiderio, who had to leave the bubble to attend to some personal matters and recover from a leg injury.
Meralco 89-Newsome 19, Quinto 14, Hugnatan 14, Hodge 11, Maliksi 10, Almazan 7, Black 4, Amer 4, Salva 4, Jamito 2, Jackson 0, Jose 0, Pinto 0
Blackwater 85-Trollano 16, Sumang 15, Escoto 13, Tolomia 10, Canaleta 8, Daquioag 6, Golla 5, Dennison 4, Belo 4, Magat 4, Salem 0, Gabriel 0
Quarterscores: 25-15, 44-36, 66-59, 89-85
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