Meralco tightens maintain on No. 2 spot

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Meralco’s Allein Maliski. PBA IMAGES

Meralco continued climbing its solution to a protected spot within the playoffs by dumping Blackwater into the cesspool of historical past.

The Bolts handed the Bossing a 104-97 defeat within the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday, sending Blackwater to the report books with a nineteenth straight defeat—the longest in league historical past.

Not less than, Blackwater achieved one thing it had didn’t do for a lot of the event: Keep away from trying misplaced within the professional league. Even Meralco coach Norman Black admitted that the Bossing, enjoying for pleasure and little else, spooked the Bolts within the second half.

“Blackwater performed a lot, a lot better than us within the second half,” Black mentioned. “They rallied again towards us and we didn’t play as nicely within the second half, however we performed nicely sufficient to win the sport.”

Blackwater entered the match at Don Honorio Ventura State College in Bacolor, Pampanga, shedding by a median of about 17 factors per sport. The Bossing regarded decided to make this sport far more of a combat, earlier than finally dropping their eleventh straight match this season.

Add to that shedding their final eight video games final season—after which administration traded their greatest, albeit oft-hurt, participant in Mac Belo within the offseason—and Blackwater was on their own within the apex of ignominy after breaking the tie it held with the defunct Nice Style/Presto franchise.

First rate numbers

However, the Bolts, already assured of a spot within the playoffs, bought its act collectively within the second body and held it collectively down the stretch to maneuver nearer to a playoff bonus.

Allein Maliksi had 21 factors and 10 rebounds on his thirty fourth birthday, whereas Raymond Almazan tossed his personal double-double of 15 and 17 to assist the shorthanded Meralco rise to 7-2 with a pair of video games left to play.

The Bossing bought first rate numbers from its forged, with KG Canaleta and three others scoring 14 or extra.

Blackwater’s final victory was towards NLEX in Oct. 17 final 12 months, a 98-88 victory the place they pulled away within the third interval. The Bossing went 2-1 after that victory, stunning pundits, earlier than continuing to drop all their remaining matches.

They virtually pulled this one off towards the Bolts, slicing an 11-point result in simply 5, 100-95, on a Simon Enciso triple with 1:49 to play.

However Anjo Caram restored an eight-point cushion for Meralco, which was outscored by seven within the last interval, permitting the Bolts to carry on to the shaky victory, which, Black mentioned, was a victory nonetheless.

“Though it wasn’t very fairly within the second half, I’ll take it,” he mentioned.

“At this level of the season that’s all it actually issues … you get as many wins as potential,” added Black, whose squad faces harmful NLEX and defending champion Barangay Ginebra in its final two video games.

In one other match, TNT made probably the most out of a singular alternative, utilizing each little bit of its firepower towards weary Alaska for a 103-85 victory for an important springboard going into playoffs.

“We wished to strive some issues on this sport that we haven’t been doing, that we haven’t carried out up to now few video games,” mentioned coach Chot Reyes, whose prices completed the elimination spherical at 10-1 (win-loss).

“In our minds, we simply wrapped the primary half. We now must be ready for a really, very robust second half,” he added because the Tropang Giga now enter every week’s value of break and benefit from the view from the highest as different groups slug it our for positions within the quarterfinal spherical.

TNT bought the products from Roger Pogoy who completed with 18 factors, and Poy Erram who tossed in 17 coming off the bench. Staying sharp

Three extra gamers from the Tropang Giga scored in double digits as Reyes walked a “wonderful line between conserving them contemporary and conserving them sharp” for the following spherical.

Abu Tratter and Javee Casio completed with 12 and 11 factors, respectively, for the Aces, who had been coming off a victory over Barangay Ginebra in a triple header Friday night time.

Alaska was put by means of a torturous schedule after being positioned underneath the league’s well being protocols. Now 3-5, the Aces instantly transfer on to battle 3-7 Terrafirma on Sunday night time to cap one other triple invoice.

It stays to be seen who can be TNT’s subsequent task within the playoffs, contemplating the sophisticated logjam involving the groups within the backside half, which by the way contains the Gin Kings.

However that’s the least of Reyes’ worries, as he stays targeted on doing one factor and one factor solely. Not less than for now.

“There are some areas we wish to shore up,” he mentioned. [B]ut I don’t wish to bore you being too technical about it.

“Consider me, there are nonetheless areas we give attention to our practices—that we really feel we must always get higher if we’re going to have the ability to compete and beat the large boys.”

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