MERALCO unleashed a power surge in the fourth period to deal Terrafirma a 104-92 beating Friday in the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Johnny O'Bryant scored 31 points on top of nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, but the help provided by the locals led by Bong Quinto and Allein Maliksi proved crucial in the Bolts' 12-2 that pulled them away to a 96-82 lead and into their first win after three tries in the conference.
Maliksi finished with 18 points and six rebounds, Quinto 17 and seven and Aaron Black also had 17 points while Chris Banchero added 12 markers, seven assists, and five boards which all helped Meralco buck the continued absence of Chris Newsome and head coach Norman Black due to safety protocols.
"When the ball was moving and there was a bit more flow, I think we were able to operate on the offense. We shared the ball," was how interim coach Luigi Trillo described the turning point of the match.
Trillo also gave props to the other Bolts locals for easing some of the load off O'Bryant.
"Aside from Bong, who played extremely well, give credit also to CB (Banchero), Raymond Almazan, who I thought came out also and chipped in when substituted to help out the regulars," pointed out Trillo.
The loss was Terrafirma's fourth in as many games in the conference and 20th straight since last season.
After being limited to just 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 94-106 loss to Rain or Shine last Sunday, Lester Prosper bounced back big-time with gamehighs of 35 and 18, helping the Dyip engage the Bolts through 19 lead changes and 10 deadlocks in the early goings.
The 11 points each by Juami Tiongson, Eric Camson and Javi Gomez de Liano and Alex Cabagnot's 10 points and nine assists became main support to Prosper as Terrafirma only drew eight points from Joshua Munzon and again played minus the injured Aldrech Ramos.
The loss of Tiongson due to a sprain late in the third period also took a big toll on Terrafirma's bid to snap out of its prolonged funk, as evidenced by its failure to stymie Meralco's break from an 84-80 count touched off by a Maliksi floater followed by O'Bryant's five straight points. (NC)
Meralco 105 - O'Bryant 31, Maliksi 18, Quinto 17, Black 17, Banchero 12, Almazan 8, Hodge 2, Johnson 0, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Pascual 0, Jose 0.
Terrafirma 92 - Prosper 35, Tiongson 11, Gomez de Liano 11, Camson 11, Cabagnot 10, Munzon 8, Calvo 2, Alolino 2, Gabayni 2, Cahilig 0, Javelona 0, Mina 0, Balagasay 0.
Quarters: 26-27, 55-52, 79-76, 105-92