Bolts zap Rain or Shine to keep fading playoff hopes alive
Paul Lintag on Jan 20, 2017 06:49 PM
Jonathan Uyloan sparked an early Meralco run as the Bolts upset Rain or Shine to stay in the Philippine Cup playoff race.
Meralco hit two birds with one stone Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Not only did the Bolts kept their flickering playoff hopes alive, Meralco put a dent in Rain or Shine's own race after scoring a convincing 82-72 victory in the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup.
Snapping a six-game losing skid, Meralco improved to 3-7 for the season, still mathematically alive for the quarterfinals although the Bolts' destiny is not exactly in their hands.
With Cliff Hodge and Jonathan Uyloan at the helm, Meralco got to a fast start and unloaded a 35-20 lead on the Elasto Painters in the very first quarter, setting the tone for the rest of the contest.
While the Bolts never scored above 20 points in each of the three succeeding quarters, Meralco was able to hold off Rain or Shine effectively with its defense, allowing the Elasto Painters to only shoot 30 percent from the field.
"We're keeping our hopes up but we still have to win one more game and hope that a lot of teams lose. Or at least somebody finishes with four wins. That basically means we don't really have control of our destiny at this point," head coach Norman Black said.
"I'm just happy we won, it's not a good feeling going home in traffic after losing games. At least tonight the traffic will be a little bit better. Just nice to see the players right from the start put in a lot of effort particularly on the defensive end," he added.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome paced Meralco with 19 points and six rebounds while Hodge added a 17-point, 16-rebound double-double. Uyloan ended up with 14 for the Bolts.
Rain or Shine, who was tied for second place coming in but now fell to 5-4 for the conference, got 17 from James Yap.
MERALCO 82 - Newsome 19, Hodge 17, Uyloan 14, Al-Hussaini 10, Chua 9, Hugnatan 4, Dillinger 3, Daquioag 2, Grey 2, Amer 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 72 - Yap 17, Ponferada 11, Chan 9, Cruz 9, Belga 7, Trollano 7, Washington 6, Tiu 4, Norwood 2, Ahanmisi 0, Matias 0.
Quarterscores: 35-20, 49-35, 68-56, 82-72.
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