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Durham, Bolts Erase 18-point Lead, Stun SMB

Meralco Claims Number 1 Spot after Comeback Win


Jared Dillinger scored 16 points off the bench to spark the Bolts' comeback. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

The good news for the Meralco Bolts is, they only need to win their final game to claim the number 1 spot entering the quarterfinals. The bad news is, they needed to do it against a San Miguel team which they haven't beaten since 2015.

Nope. Not this time around, Beermen. The Meralco Bolts came back from an 18-point deficit to claim the number 1 spot after stunning the San Miguel Beermen, 104-101.

Hoping to continue their mastery of the Bolts, the San Miguel Beermen jumped to a double-digit lead early on. The Bolts were struggling to get anything going in their offense as the Beermen's defense continuously forced them into committing turnovers which the Beerman would convert into points on the other end.Throughout the 2nd quarter, the Bolts were struggling miserably as they shot only 37% in the field including a 27% 3-point shooting.

San Miguel for their part, shot way better in the field, making 47% of their shot attempts in the first half including 53% from the 2-point area. The lead went down at 8 after a Baser Amer lay-up with 66 seconds left before halftime. On the ensuing possession, Marcio Lassiter nailed a trey to put the lead back to double-digits. June Mar Fajardo already had 10 points by halftime. So is Marcio Lassiter. So is import Terrence Watson. Meanwhile, Allen Durham did have 10 points but was continuously struggling to make his shots against the suffocating defense of the Beermen which forced him to make only 4 of his 13 attempts in the first 24 minutes of action.

The Beermen continued pouring in the points in the shaded area to start off the 3rd quarter with Fajardo and Alex Cabagnot.Chris Ross who went scoreless in San Miguel's previous game, another 3-pointer a few possessions later and a shot by Fajardo put the lead up to 17, forcing Norman Black to call a timeout 3 minutes into the quarter.  Fajardo later added another dunk after a bad pass by the Bolts player.

S0an Miguel's lead then ballooned to 18 points after a jumper by Watson. Meralco tried to chip away at the lead as Mike Tolomia scored on a lay-up to bring the lead down to 16 but the Beermen were able to answer every basket that the Bolts made. Meralco came back roaring as they cut down the lead to 10 with a trey from Tolomia with less than 2 minutes to play in the 3rd. San Miguel brought a 12-point lead coming into the final quarter.

A goaltending violation against San Miguel cut down the Beermen's lead to 7 in the opening minutes of the fourth as Reynel Hugnatan nailed a jumper to furthermore bring down the lead to just 5, forcing San Miguel Coach Leo Austria to call time.

After back-to-back made baskets by Fajardo, Allen Durham another trey with under 6 minutes on the clock only to be answered by another basket by Fajardo. A pair of charities by Cliff Hodge brought Meralco within 2 with under 5 minutes to play.

After the Beermen increased their lead back to 9, Meralco charged back right away, just trailing 96-92 with under 3 minutes to go until Jared Dillinger drained another trey cut down the lead just to 1. After a Watson basket, Amer scored on another three-pointer to tie the game at 98 apiece with 1:24 to go. Durham gave Meralco its first taste of the lead on a driving lay-up against Fajardo with under a minute to play. Chris Ross answered right back with another trey to give the Beermen a 101-100 lead heading into the final 40 seconds. Durham scored on his own missed shot to put his team back up 102-101 with under 28 seconds remaining.

San Miguel still had one more chance to take the lead but Fajardo's shot was heavily contested and Meralco was able to grab the ensuing rebound and call an all-important timeout with 4 seconds on the clock. Durham added two more free throws as San Miguel ran out of time on the other end.

Allen Durham led the way for the Bolts with his 35 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists. Dillinger added 16 while Chris Newsome finished with 14 points. Baser Amer also contributed 13 points. For the losing team, Fajardo had 26 points to go along with his 8 rebounds. Terrence Watson and Marcio Lassiter had 18 points each while Alex Cabagnot and Chris Ross finished with 16 and 10 respectively.

While the starters of San Miguel produced their usual numbers, it was the bench scoring that allowed Meralco to mount a comeback and eventually, helped them win the game.

Scores:

Meralco - 104
Durham 35, Dilinger 16, Newsome 14, Amer 13, Hodge 8, Tolomia 8, De Ocampo 6, Hugnatan 2, Nabong 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Lanete 0, Sedurita 0, Caram 0, Faundo 0

San Miguel - 101
Fajardo 26, Watson 18, Lassiter 18, Cabagnot 16, Ross 10, Santos 6, Ganuelas-Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Heruela 0, McCarthy 0, Pessumal 0, Reyes  0, Agovida 0, Tubid 0, de Ocampo 0

Quarter scores:

19-31, 39-51, 69-81,104-101 


Jared Dilinger scored 16 points off the bench to spark the Bolts' comeback. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

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