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Bolts Recover in Time to Book Semifinal Slot

Amer led the Bolts as Durham gets hurt late


Amer played one of the best games in his career to lead the Bolts (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

The Blackwater Elite knew that they were facing a twice-to-beat disadvantage against the top-seeded team, Meralco Bolts when they first faced off against last Tuesday to open the quarterfinals of the PBA Governors' Cup. It seemed that the disadvantaged didn't bother Allen Maliksi who completed the Elite's comeback win when he drained that game winner in the dying seconds of Tuesday's battle. As a result, both teams get another chance to decide which of them will have the honor of dancing against the Star Hotshots in the semifinals.

They fell behind during most of the first half. Henry Walker was torching them early on. Their own import, Allen Durham got hurt in the 4th quarter and yet, the Meralco Bolts will now face the Star Hotshots in the semifinals after eliminating the Blackwater, 104-96.

Wanting to make up for their slow start last Tuesday when they fell, 24-17 at the end of quarter number 1, the Bolts went firing on all cylinders as Baser Amer scored 5 points during the opening minutes of the game after missing most of Tuesday's game due to injury that he sustained just a few seconds into the game.

However, shortly after the Bolts held an 8-point lead, the Elite went on a scoring to take the lead, at 18-18 with under 4 minutes to play, thanks to Maliksi's 3-point play. Maliksi later added another jumper with under 2 minutes remaining in the opening quarter to increase the Elite's lead to 5, forcing Norman Black to signal that he needed a timeout. The Bolts went 4 minutes without scoring a field goal, a spell that was only broken by Ranidel de Ocampo who went on his 5-point run to tie the score at 22 apiece with a minute to play.

In the second quarter, the Bolts took the lead on multiple occasions but their inconsistency allowed the Elite to take the lead and that lead increased to 33-28 on Henry Walker's three-point shot 3 minutes into the quarter. Walker scored on a 3-point play to furthermore push the lead to 8. Eventually, Garvo Lanete contributed on a Meralco run as his three-pointer gave them the lead at 37-36 only to be answered by Walker who made a pair of three-pointers of his own to make it 42-37 with under 4 minutes before halftime. He also drained another three-pointer to give Blackwater their first taste of a double-digit lead.

The Elite took a 52-40 into the halftime break as Henry Walker led the way with 27 points which included a 6 of 11 shooting from rainbow distance and, 11 rebounds. JP Eram had 11 points in the first half to go along with 5 boards. Blackwater held a double-digit lead at the half thanks to their three-point shooting which saw them make 6 of 18 attempts, all by Walker. Allen Durham had 10 points and 10 rebounds to lead Meralco. The Bolts were outmuscled on the boards at 33-25 and were outscored on second-chance points at 7-4.

Meralco then started the 3rd quarter by trimming down the Elite's lead to 6 thanks to Baser Amer who completed a 3-point play. But Allen Maliksi drained a 3-pointer to bring the lead back to 11 only to be answered by an Allen Durham basket off an offensive rebound. Mike Digregorio later answered with another trey for the Elite and Ranidel de Ocampo added another one from long distance to keep the lead down at 8 with under 8 minutes to go in the quarter.  The lead went down to as lowest as three after de Ocampo completed a 3-point play with 5:40 to play. 

Finally, the Bolts grabbed the lead for the since the first half after Jared Dillinger drained another trey for Meralco, making it 68-67 with 2:52 remaining in the 3rd. After making 6 threes in the first half, Henry Walker finally drained his first one in the second during the final 5 seconds of the quarter as Blackwater took a 77-73 lead into the fourth quarter.

If anything, the Meralco Bolts found their shooting touch back in the 3rd as they started the fourth quarter with a series of three-pointers from Baser Amer, Garvo Lanete and the last one, on Jared Dillinger's trey to put the Bolts up by 87-84 with under 9 minutes to play, prompting Leo Isaac to call for a timeout. 

Just when everyone thought that things were starting to go the Bolts' way, Allen Durham was hurt after landing awkwardly while driving for a lay-up. He was taken to the bench and was attended by the trainers. He later returned to the game and scored 4 straight points to widen the lead to 99-91 with less than 4 minutes to spare. Dillinger again, drained another bomb from the 3-point line to put the Bolts up 10 with under 2 minutes left and that proved to be the dagger that put the life out of the Elite, for good.

Baser Amer led the Bolts with 31 points while making 4 of his 7 attempts from downtown. Allen Durham added 18 points to go with his 20 rebounds and 9 assists. Garvo Lanete provided the needed spark off the bench with 17 markers which were built on 5 makes from rainbow country. Dillinger finished with 15 points. Ranidel de Ocampo added 14 as the Bolts recovered from their early struggles especially when it comes to shooting threes as they finished the game by making 41% of their attempts from that area. 

Overall, Meralco made 46%  of their shots as compared to the Elite who only managed to make 39% of their total attempts.

Henry Walker concluded his stint with Blackwater with 34 points, but only scoring 7 of them after the halftime break. JP Eram added 18 points while Mike Digregorio scored 10 points. Allen Maliksi only had 10 points on a miserable 3 of 11 field goal shooting.


Scores:

Meralco - 104
Amer 31, Durham 18, Lanete 17, Dilinger 15, de Ocampo 14, Newsome 7, Hodge 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurita 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Nabong 0, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0

Blackwater - 96
Walker 34, Eram 18, Digregorio 11, Maliksi 10, Canaleta 6, Marcelo 6, Belo 5, Sumang 4, Pinto 2, Miranda 0, Banal 0, Sena 0, Cervantes 0, Cruz 0, Ellis 0, Javier 0

Quarter scoring:

22-22, 40-52, 73-77, 104-96

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