Meralco, Star notch crucial wins to bolster twice-to-beat aspirations

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PBA Media Bureau

The Meralco Bolts moved closer to a twice-to-beat ticket as the Star Hotshots continued their fight for a top four finish in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bolts pounced on the depleted GlobalPort Batang Pier, 100-93, to improve to 8-2 and tie Barangay Ginebra for the No.1 spot in the team standings.

The Hotshots meanwhile kept Kia Picanto winless all throughout the tournament after a 128-81 rout.

Chris Newsome scored 28 points, seven rebounds and five assists while import Allen Durham delivered a triple-double of 22 points, 22 rebounds and 10 assists for Meralco.

Their productions were simply too much for the Batang Pier who were forced to play without an import after last-minute replacement Jamal Thomas exceeded the height limit.

The absence of Terrence Romeo also didn’t help as GlobalPort (3-8) crashed out of the tournament with a five-game skid.

In the other game, the Hotshots remained in the hunt for a twice-to-beat. Now with a 6-4 slate, Star is in a must-win on Sunday game against NLEX (7-3) which is also in the running for a top four finish.

Leading Star in the 47-point drubbing of Kia was Kristofer Acox who had 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Marc Pingris also achieved a milestone as he became the 86th player in league history to join the 5,000 points club.

The scores:

First game

STAR 128 – Acox 19, Jalalon 15, Simon 13, Sangalang 12, Pingris 12, Melton 10, Barroca 10, Reavis 7, Ramos 7, Dela Rosa 5, Mendoza 5, Lee 4, Abundo 3, Gamalinda 2, Pascual 2, Brondial 2.

KIA 81 – Johnson 27, Elorde 15, Corpuz 11, Camson 10, Celda 9, Yee 4, Deutchman 3, Nimes 2, Paniamogan 0, Ballesteros 0, Jaime 0.

Quarters: 32-24, 65-36, 91-60, 128-81.

Second game

MERALCO 100 – Newsome 28, Durham 22, Hugnatan 13, Hodge 10, Amer 9, De Ocampo 6, Tolomia 4, Lanete 3, Dillinger 3, Sedurifa 2, Caram 0, Nabong 0, Faundo 0.

GLOBALPORT 93 – Anthony 23, Grey 16, Pringle 14, Guinto 14, Cardona 11, Baracael 5, Cortez 4, Mamaril 4, Arana 2, Hubalde 0, Celiz 0, Paredes 0.

Quarters: 25-20, 51-42, 83-64, 100-93.