Meralco continues to roll, subdues Phoenix to force rubber match for last semis berth

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Allen Durham made sure Meralco won’t go down without one big fight.

The ever-reliable Meralco reinforcement led a sustained second half attack by the Bolts which resulted in a 90-74 victory over Phoenix Wednesday and forced a rubber match in their PBA Governors Cup quarterfinals duel at the Cuneta Astrodome.

Durham scattered 18 of his team-high 26 points in the last two quarters of play and got plenty of help from the likes of Chris Newsome and Baser Amer as seventh-ranked Meralco neutralized the second seeded Phoenix’s twice-to-win advantage.

The Bolts now have an even shot when the deciding match is played out Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Meralco coach Norman Black remains guardedly optimistic despite his team’s fifth straight win in all. “It’s just one game and we need two,” he pointed out.

“They fought very hard to get that twice-to-win advantage and there’s a reason why,” added Black. “We just have to go out, try to win one more game to make it to the semifinals. That’s going to be our focus tomorrow in practice, try to correct whatever errors we had today and try to come out better.”

The scores:

Meralco 90 – Durham 26, Newsome 16, Amer 14, Tolomia 9, Canaleta 9, Hugnatan 7, Salva 5, Dillinger 2, Faundo 2, Hodge 0, Ballesteros 0, Caram 0, Jamito 0.

Phoenix 74 – Phelps 27, Abueva 18, Perkins 9, Wright 8, Chua 6, Intal 4, Jazul 2, Revilla 0, Kramer 0, Wilson 0, Mendoza 0.

Quarterscores: 15-17, 33-35, 66-55, 90-74.