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Allein Maliksi scores go-ahead 3 as Meralco weathers late Mike Ayonayon storm to beat Blackwater in OT

KJ McDaniels continues to be Meralco's saving grace in its last ditch to make the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Meralco banked on the heroics of its veteran locals to take down skidding Blackwater in overtime, 102-98, in their PBA Commissioner's Cup game on Friday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Allein Maliksi scored what would be the deciding basket for the Bolts, a three-pointer with 28 seconds left, as they survived a late scare from the Bossing led by Mike Ayonayon.

Down 70-83 with 6:43 left in regulation, Blackwater clawed its way back to the game in part due to Ayonayon's heroics, in which he scored nine of the team's final 19 points in regulation including the basket that forced overtime at 89-all.

The team then kept in step with Meralco for most of the overtime period and even knotted the count anew at 96-all with 1:22 left.

Maliksi, however, scored a corner three with 27.1 seconds left to put the Bolts ahead, 99-96.

Ayonayon kept the Bossing in the game with two quick free throws with 22.2 left, but they milked some time on the clock before fouling Aaron Black, who made two charities of his own with 12 seconds remaining.

Ayonayon tried to force overtime again, but he badly missed a hurried three-pointer, and KJ McDaniels sealed the win with a split from the line.

McDaniels finished with 26 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one block to lead Meralco, which scored back-to-back wins to move up to 3-5, tying NLEX for ninth place, a half-game behind San Miguel for eighth.

Black added 18 points, nine rebounds, one assist, and one steal.

Cam Krutwig made 23 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, and one steal, while Ato Ular added 15 points, 13 rebounds, one assist, and two steals for Blackwater, which fell to its fourth straight loss and dropped to 3-7, putting the team in danger of missing the quarterfinals with two games left in its elimination round schedule.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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