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PBA: NLEX escapes vs Meralco after wild finish

Robert Bolick waxed hot in the fourth quarter for NLEX. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--NLEX prevailed after Meralco seemed to have a chance to bounce back from a huge clutch meltdown and walked away with a 99-96 win in their PBA Philippine Cup game on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Bolts seemed to be on the verge of a major collapse when they suddenly went error-prone within the final minute of play, letting the Road Warriors go on an 8-0 run to take a 98-91 lead with 26 seconds left.

The late blunders were capped by a lousy inbound by Cliff Hodge that Anthony Semerad easily picked up, leading to two free throws from him.

However, Dom Fajardo fouled Chris Newsome while taking a three in the next play, giving Newsome three free throws.

Newsome, who was 12-for-12 from the foul line before his third charity, decided to sacrifice the perfect free throw clip, and luckily he tapped the ball out to Allein Maliksi, who nailed a right corner three to cut the lead down to two, 98-96, with 19 seconds to go.

Enoch Valdez kept Meralco in the game when he missed his second free throw off a Maliksi foul with Maliksi getting the rebound, but Newsome missed a right-wing three and Robbie Herndon secured the game-ending carom.

Robert Bolick led the Road Warriors, who are now 2-1 in the team standings, with 26 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.

Valdez added 12 points, six rebounds, three steals, and one block.

Newsome finished with 22 points, eight rebounds, four assists, one steal, and one block for the Bolts, who fell to 1-2.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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