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PBA: Meralco survives late Adrian Nocum splash, beats ROS in OT thriller

Allein Maliksi's clutch baskets helped Meralco escape Adrian Nocum's final attack. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Meralco staved off the late heroics of Adrian Nocum to score its first win in the PBA Philippine Cup through a 121-117 overtime victory against Rain Or Shine on Saturday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Bolts thought they were already pulling away after opening the overtime session on a 10-2 run for a 112-104 lead with three minutes left.

However, Nocum, who has become a surprise package for the Elasto Painters since the Commissioner's Cup, began his late surge with a layup with 2:45 left to cut the lead down to six, 112-106.

After three more points from Meralco to make it a nine-point game, Nocum went on a 6-1 run by his lonesome to cut the lead down to four, 116-112, with 38 seconds remaining.

Nocum did not give up even if Anjo Caram shot two free throws off a quick foul by Santi Santillan and scored on a putback off Santillan's missed three to keep ROS in the game.

Nocum then quickly answered Allein Maliksi's press breaker by scoring on an and-one to bring the Elasto Painters to within three, 120-117, with 14 seconds remaining.

The Bolts, though, got to milk the clock after breaking another pressure defense, and Maliksi split from the free throw line for the final count.

Beau Belga tried to trim the lead some more for some quotient factors, but he missed a three-pointer as time finally ran out on ROS.

Maliksi led Meralco, which tied TNT at 1-1, with 26 points, seven rebounds, and one assist off the bench.

Chris Newsome, Cliff Hodge, Bong Quinto, and Norbert Torres each added 16 points with Newsome and Hodge also tallying double-doubles with 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

Nocum finished with 29 points on 9-for-15 shooting, five rebounds, two assists, and four steals for ROS, which dropped to 0-2.

Santillan added 25 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.

While he was activated for the game, Luis Villegas' PBA debut will have to wait for a little longer as he was not inserted at all.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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