MERALCO blew hot and cold on this wet, cold night but stuck together through overtime, eking out a 109-104 win over Magnolia in the PBA Philippine Cup bubble play at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Arena in Angeles, Pampanga.
Chris Newsome led nine Bolts scoring eight points or more, with the Fil-Am guard/forward firing away eight of his 23 in the extra period as Meralco beat out Magnolia in a grind-out battle for a second win against the same number of losses.
The Hotshots, meanwhile, dropped to 1-3, with Paul Lee's explosive 32-point game going down the drain.
"We really had a good chance to win it in regulation but we missed a free throw and allowed them to get to the line. In overtime I said: 'Hey, we still have a chance; let's go and win it. Let's talk about what had happened later.' And the guys played to win the game," said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Newsome said it's a great team effort, lauding young teammates who stepped up and hit big shots.
Trevis Jackson played big in the fourth quarter, scoring all of his 10 points in that period, including three three-pointers while rookie Aaron Black also drained three treys and finished with 16 markers on top of four rebounds, four assists and one steal against two turnovers.
Cliff Hodge, Bong Quinto, Raymond Almazan, Reynel Hugnatan, Allein Maliksi and Jammer Jamito were the other Bolts who made at least eight points apiece in a balanced Meralco offense.
But Lee, Mark Barroca, Chris Banchero, Jio Jalalon and Jackson Corpuz had their sterling efforts for the Hotshots in the well-fought match on a rainy evening.
Lee drained two charities that sent the game into overtime then sunk four more foul shots as the Hotshots went up at 98-96 early in the extension period.
But the Bolts played with poise and composure in the face of Magnolia's tough pressing defense, with Newsome rifling in clutch baskets to help Meralco through.
Proving to be a back-breaker was Newsome's fade-away basket off Barroca to make it 107-104 with time down to 10.2 seconds.
"We just wanted to come out, play with energy, play with heart. We did that tonight," said Newsome. (SB)
Meralco 109 - Newsome 23, Black 16, Hodge 12, Hugnatan 11, Jackson 10, Quinto 8, Almazan 8, Maliksi 8, Jamito 8, Pinto 4, Amer 1, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Salva 0, Caram 0.
Magnolia 104 - Lee 32, Barroca 17, Jalalon 13, Banchero 13, Corpuz 12, Melton 6, Reavis 4, Pascual 4, Dionisio 3, Sangalang 0, Calisaan 0, Dela Rosa 0, Abundo 0, Saitanan 0.
Quarters: 19-25, 46-46, 67-73, 94-94, 109-104 (OT)