Delroy James delivered the clutch baskets for Meralco as the Bolts stunned San Miguel, 95-91, in the final playdate of the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup elimination phase, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
James scored the Bolts’ last 6 points, all on gutsy drives, against a lone bucket by June Mar Fajardo as Meralco snapped out of a 5-game skid just in the nick of time to arrange a knockout match with idle Alaska for the 8th and last ticket to the quarterfinal round.
Meralco finished in a triple-tie with the Aces and Phoenix Pulse with similar 4-7 records but the Fuel Masters still got the boot after having inferior quotient.
San Miguel, on the other hand, saw its 3-game winning streak come to an end. The Beermen eventually slid down to 7th place after TNT’s win in the main event.
“It was a game we really needed. We really needed it very badly just to stay alive. Good effort for my players offensively and defensively. A lot of guys stepped up for us,” said a relieved Meralco coach Norman Black shortly after the match.
“Delroy really came through in the clutch and he hit the key baskets down the stretch. So we get to live another day to fight Alaska. I know that’s going to be a tough game for us, but at least we have a chance for a playoff now,” he added.
James paced the Bolts with 34 points while Chris Newsome added 20. Raymond Almazan and Bryan Faundo contributed 15 and 10 points, respectively.
Chris McCullough and June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 27 points apiece while Terrence Romeo had 11.
Meralco 95 – James 34, Newsome 20, Almazan 15, Faundo 10, Amer 8, Jackson 3, Quinto 3, Hodge 2, Salva 0, De Ocampo 0.
San Miguel 91 – McCullough 27, Fajardo 27, Romeo 11, Standhardinger 9, Santos 6, Lassiter 3, Nabing 3, Pessumal 3, Ross 2, Rosser 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 42-42, 74-70, 95-91.