PBA Govs’ Cup playoffs: Meralco sends Phoenix out

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DO-OR-DIE. Both the Phoenix Fuel Masters and the Meralco Bolts put it all out on the floor in the quarterfinal nailbiter. Photo from PBA Images

MANILA – Meralco Bolts overhauled a deficit as high as 16 points before scoring a 108-103 overtime win over the Phoenix Fuel Masters in the do-or-die quarterfinals of the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Allen Durham had near triple-double of 32 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists while Baser Amer and Chris Newsome added 26 and 19 points, respectively.

The Bolt will face Alaska Aces in the best-of-five semifinals starting tomorrow.

The two-time Governors’ Cup runner-ups, the Bolts erased the twice-to-beat incentive of the Fuel Masters despite the absence of injured veterans Ranidel de Ocampo and Clifford Hodge.

Trailing by as much as 16 points at 30-46 late in the second period, the Bolts slowly clawed its way back behind five straight points by Newsome and a three-point play by Durham to come to within 40-50 at the half.

The Bolts continued its run in the third period with conversions from Durham and Amer to snatch the lead at 68-67 on a Rommel Canaleta triple.

After Fuel Masters’ Calvin Abueva tied the score at 68-all, Amer swung the lead back to Bolts with a floater.

Fuel Masters battled back in the fourth and snatch an 86-79 lead on hits from Jason Perkins. Durham carried the Bolts behind his back to regain the advantage at 94-91 before Phoenix forced an overtime with a Jason Perkins triple.

In overtime, the Bolts surged to a 102-94 lead on back-to-back triples by Amer. The Fuel Masters made its last push to come to within 100-102 on five straight points by Abueva but the Bolts got insurance hits from Durham and Reynel Hugnatan to clinch the win.

Perkins finished with 24 points, Matthew Wright added 20 markers, while Eugene Phelps had 18 points, 23 rebounds and seven assists for the Fuel Masters.

As a franchise, Fuel Masters has yet to win a PBA playoffs game.

BOX SCORE:

MERALCO 108 – Durham 32, Amer 26, Newsome 19, Salva 8, Canaleta 7, Hugnatan 6, Faundo 4, Dillinger 2, Caram 2, Tolomia 2.

PHOENIX 103 – Perkins 24, Wright 20, Phelps 18, Chua 13, Abueva 10, Intal 10, Wilson 5, Revilla 2, Jazul 1, Kramer 0.

Quarterscores: 22-27, 40-50, 70-68, 94-94, 108-103. /PN

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