Saturday, March 18, 2017
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Meralco Bolts guard Baser Amer (9) faces off with Mahindra Floodbuster titan James White during their PBA Commissioner’s Cup match on Friday.PBA
MANILA – The Meralco Bolts survived numerous fight backs by the Mahindra Floodbuster to score a 94-86 win at the start of the 2017 Oppo PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Baser Amer led the way with 19 points, including three 3-point conversions, for the Bolts, which is hoping to bounce back from its lackluster performance in the Philippine Cup.
Chris Newsome chipped in 17 points, reinforcement Alex Stephenson had double-double 11 points and 21 rebounds, while Ilonggo Anjo Caram had 10 markers for the Bolts.
“We have been working hard during the offseason to improve our performance this conference,” said Bolts mentor Norman Black. “Since this is an imported conference we are hoping that Alex will be able make us stronger in the paint.”
Down by as much as seven points early in the second frame, the Bolts relied on the exploits of Newsome and Caram to take a 20-18 lead before widening it to 44-30 on back-to-back treys by Amer.
The Bolts maintained its double-digit edge in the third quarter but the Floodbuster went on a huge rally behind James White and Alex Mallari to come to within 56-53. Two triples by Jonathan Uyloan allowed the Bolts to take a 66-58 lead after 36 minutes.
The Floodbuster had another run in the fourth frame as it came to as close as 68-67 following free throws by Jason Deutchman but hits by Newsome, Amer and Jared Dillinger widened the lead anew to 78-69.
The Floodbuster had its last run on six straight points by Nico Salva and White but the Bolts got timely back-to-back triples from Clifford Hodge to increase the gap at 91-82.
White finished with double-double 33 points and 16 rebounds, but missed five of his 10 free throw attempts, Mallari had 21 markers for the Floodbuster, which also eyes to improve its sub-par showing last conference./PN