MERALCO regained share of first place as it emphatically dismantled Alaska, 106-78, to stay hot and further improve its stand in the 2016 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last night.
Once again, Allen Durham was his usual dominant self, leading the Bolts with another solid double-double of 26 points and 18 rebounds on top of six assists and three blocks in a well-rounded showing.
However, rookie Mike Tolomia stole some thunder as well, scoring a career-high 24 points for Meralco, while having a sensational shooting night, hitting a perfect 6-of-6 clip from downtown.
Already safely in the quarterfinals, the Bolts improved their chances of ending in the Top 4, improving to 7-2 to tie Barangay Ginebra at the top.
On the other hand, the loss was a big blow to the Aces as they fell to 3-7 while also getting their three-game winning streak snapped.
As a result, the fate of Alaska is not entirely in its hands now with only a game left in its schedule. It needs to win that and then wait and see whether it will gain at least a playoff for a spot in the quarters or it will have an early vacation.
Through an early surge, Meralco was able to seize command right away.
After carving a 28-22 lead at the end of one, the Bolts completely broke the game wide open in the second quarter.
A blistering 22-7 blast midway the second suddenly gave Meralco a whopping 21-point advantage, 50-29, late in the period.
At the half, its cushion stood at 23 points, 58-35.
There was no looking back for the Bolts as they cruised the rest of the way for the victory.
Ranidel De Ocampo, after getting shipped by TNT KaTropa after nine years of stay there, made his Meralco debut.
Action continues today as well with yet another double-header at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City this time around.
In the main course, co-league leader Barangay Ginebra (7-2) aims on getting back on track and securing a top four finish as it locks horns with tough customer Rain or Shine (5-3) at 5:15 p.m.
The Gin Kings can secure a top four finish and a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarters should they score their eighth win.
In the opener, streaking San Miguel Beer (5-3) is heavily favored in its encounter with winless cellar-dweller Kia (0-9) in their 3 p.m. encounter.
MERALCO 106—Durham 26, Tolomia 24, Amer 17, Newsome 10, De Ocampo 10, Hodge 8, Lanete 5, Nabong 3, Caram 2, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Hugnatan 0, Faundo 0.
ALASKA 78—Henton 23, Casio 18, Manuel 10, Abueva 8, Racal 8, Enciso 3, Banchero 3, Exciminiano 2, Pascual 2, Mendoza 1, Thoss 0, Baclao 0, Galliguez 0.
Quarters: 28-22, 58-35, 78-59, 106-78.
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