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Meralco escapes SMB in tight Tiaong tussle

Allein Maliksi led the Bolts' offense anew. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

TIAONG—Meralco played more solid basketball in the final four minutes to edge San Miguel, 92-89, in their PBA on Tour showdown on Saturday night at the Tiaong Convention Center.

The Bolts went on a 7-0 run to turn an 83-84 deficit into a 90-84 cushion with 2:43 left in the game.

The Beermen kept the match close as Jericho Cruz, making his preseason debut, made three straight points to cut the lead down to three, 92-89, with 33 seconds to go.

Bong Quinto had a chance to ice the game for Meralco, but he missed a teardrop against Rodney Brondial's outstretched arms and Brondial secured SMB's possession with eight seconds left.

However, Jansen Rios blocked Allyn Bulanadi's corner three attempt even as Bulanadi failed to reclaim the ball and time ran out on the Beermen.

Allein Maliksi led the Bolts with 21 points, four rebounds, and two assists, Quinto added 19 points, four rebounds, and three assists, and Raymond Almazan contributed 14 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, one block, and one steal.

Cruz fired 19 points, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal for SMB.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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