Meralco gave coach Norman Black a victory on the anniversary of one of his greatest milestones Friday after defeating NLEX 101-92 in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
Chris Newsome carried his good showing from the overtime win over Magnolia by posting 18 points, six rebounds and six assists as Meralco improved to 3-2 exactly 32 years since Black became the first and still only import to join the 10,000-point club.
Black did the feat on Oct. 23, 1988 when he scored 42 points as playing coach of San Miguel Beer in a 140-135 loss to Anejo Rhum 65.
He’s also glad that four others scored in double figures and Meralco’s defense was able to make things difficult for NLEX, which dropped to 1-4 despite a season-high 30 points from Kiefer Ravena.
“We really want to play as a team, we want to share the basketball and we did that again tonight,” said Black, whose team produced back-to-back triumphs that started with Tuesday’s 109-104 overtime victory over Magnolia.
“I was more impressed with our defense. This is one of the few games this conference where our defense really stood out and the guys really executed the game plan,” Black added.
Allein Maliksi produced 17 points for Meralco, center Raymond Almazan made good strides with 11 points and nine rebounds and Cliff Hodge posted 10 points and eight rebounds.
Starting point guard Baser Amer, who was held to just one point against Magnolia, scored eight of his 11 points in the first quarter which Black said helped set the tone for Meralco.
The Bolts built a 12-point lead in the second quarter 32-20, but the Road Warriors came back in the third to take the lead 56-54 behind Ravena.
But NLEX’s lead was shortlived as Meralco answered with nine straight points behind Maliksi and Almazan. NLEX tried to mount a comeback but could only reach as close as four points when Tony Semerad, who scored a season-high 16, hit a three to narrow the gap to 94-90 going into the final two minutes.
Newsome’s shot and Maliksi’s triple put the Bolts ahead 99-90, 1:20 to go in the fourth.
MERALCO 101 — Newsome 18, Maliksi 17, Almazan 11, Amer 11, Hodge 10, Black 9, Quinto 9, Jamito 7, Hugnatan 6, Jackson 3, Pinto 0, Jose 0, Caram 0.
NLEX 92 — Ravena 30, Semerad 16, Alas 10, Cruz 9, Porter 8, Ayonayon 7, Quinahan 6, Soyud 6, Miranda 0, Varilla 0, Ighalo 0.
Quarters: 25-17, 41-39, 73-65, 101-92.