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Meralco survives 57-point blast from Jamaal Franklin, late Allein Maliksi ejection to beat Converge in OT thriller

KJ McDaniels went clutch on both ends of the floor to win it for Meralco. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Meralco escaped a 57-point explosion from Jamaal Franklin and nipped Converge, 132-129, in a PBA Governors' Cup overtime thriller on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Allein Maliksi would have been the hero for the Bolts after converting a go-ahead three in crunch time, but he quickly turned into a "zero" after a late drama involving him gave the FiberXers a chance to extend the match, which lasted for barely three hours in real-time, further.

Down 127-128 with 44 seconds left, Maliksi converted a three-pointer off a kick-out pass from KJ McDaniels to put Meralco ahead, 130-128, with 34 seconds remaining.

Alec Stockton tried to answer back with a three of his own, but his shot went off left and he slid out of bounds while trying to secure the offensive rebound with 20.2 seconds to play.

The Bolts were able to milk some time on the clock before Barkley Eboña finally fouled Maliksi with 6.9 seconds left.

However, Maliksi did not like the hard foul and held Eboña's neck, triggering a commotion quickly repulsed by cooler heads.

Maliksi was sent off with the choke, which was declared a Flagrant Foul Penalty 2, giving the FiberXers a chance to stay close to the Bolts.

Anjo Caram made two free throws off the Eboña foul, which after a review was upgraded to a Flagrant Foul Penalty 1, but Jeron Teng settled for a split off the Maliksi ejection and Converge had no other choice but to go for a three.

Jerrick Balanza tried to send the game to double overtime, but McDaniels saved the day for Meralco with a block at the final buzzer.

McDaniels finished with 33 points, 12 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block, while Aaron Black added a career-high 28 points, eight rebounds, and five assists for the Bolts, who tied their victims at 6-4.

Franklin actually had a triple-double with 14 rebounds and 11 assists alongside one steal and three blocks, but the FiberXers dearly missed him in the end as he fouled out with 2:22 left in overtime.

The scores:

MERALCO 132 – McDaniels 33, Black 28, Hodge 18, Almazan 16, Quinto 12, Maliksi 12, Newsome 11, Caram 2, Banchero 0, Jose 0.

CONVERGE 129 – Franklin 57, Ahanmisi 24, Racal 14, Stockton 9, Tratter 7, Balanza 6, Tolomia 5, Arana 4, Teng 3, Ildefonso 0, Ebona 0.

Quarters: 30-22, 62-55, 83-92, 121-121, 132-129

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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