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Meralco pulls off huge rally to beat Phoenix in PBA PH Cup debut

Chris Newsome had an impressive season debut for the Bolts. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Meralco began its campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup with a huge 109-98 come-from-behind win against Phoenix on Saturday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Down by as much as 16, the Bolts crawled back and even pulled away from the Fuel Masters in the end as the veteran presence of Reynel Hugnatan proved to be crucial.

Phoenix was on the verge of a blowout win after racing to a 77-61 lead with 3:50 remaining in the third quarter.

However, Meralco closed out the period on a 14-2 run highlighted by eight straight points from Hugnatan to cut the lead down to four, 79-75.

The team then started the fourth with an 8-2 blast capped by back-to-back baskets from Chris Banchero to take the lead, 83-81, with 9:41 to play in the game.

The game remained tight midway through the fourth until the Bolts pulled away for good with a 14-2 run that stretched their lead to 14, 109-95, with 1:21 left.

Tyler Tio converted a consolation triple on the other end for the final tally.

Chris Newsome led Meralco with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while Aaron Black added 19 points, three rebounds, and one assist.

Hugnatan shot 6-for-10 from the field for 17 points alongside three rebounds and two assists off the bench.

Jason Perkins fired 28 points on 9-for-14 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, two steals, and one block for Phoenix, which slipped to 0-2.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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