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MERALCO rode on a big third-quarter run to roll back Phoenix Super LPG, 109-90, and clinch a Top Four finish in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Tony Bishop scored 10 of his game-high 35 points in the third quarter as the Bolts outscored the Fuelmasters, 32-13, to turn a close contest into a rout.
It was Bishop’s first 30-point game for Meralco since scoring 34 points in a loss to NorthPort last Feb. 17.
Bishop, who also had 13 rebounds and five assists, had ample scoring support from his local teammates.
Allein Maliksi added 27 points, 10 of them in the third period, to power the Bolts to their seventh win against four losses at the end of the elimination round.
With the win, Meralco also became the third team after top seed Magnolia and NLEX to clinch a coveted twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round.
Cliff Hodge and Bong Quinto also stepped up for the Bolts with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Hodge also added eight rebounds and four assists.
Du’vaughn Maxwell carried the fight for the Fuel Masters with a double double of 26 points and 12 rebounds in nearly 44 minutes of action.
RJ Jazul added 16 points, Matthew Wright contributed 13.points and 10 assists, Jason Perkins had 12 and Jansen Rios had 11 for Phoenix.
Phoenix dropped to 5-6 overall.
“The win is really important because we lost our last three games. When you are losing, your confidence takes a hit,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
“We really had to try to rebuild our confidence going into this game today knowing that we will have a twice-to-beat advantage if we won.”
Added Black: “At this point, I’m just happy to get that twice-to-beat because we’re gonna need it against San Miguel.”
. Bishop and Maliksi struck hardest in the third quarter as the Bolts raced to a crippling 17-1 run to open up a commanding 73-56 advantage with 6:47 left.
The lead balooned to as high as 22 points late in the quarter.
The Fuel Masters tried to keep their hopes alive by charging back to within 80-92.
But two free throws by Raymond Almazan and a three-point play by Bishop sparked a 13-3 run that made it 105-83.
Phoenix never recovered from there.
Later, Talk N Text survived NorthPort, 106-101, in overtime to clinch the No. 3 spot in the quarterfinals.
Meralco (109) — Bishop 35, Maliksi 27, Hodge 14, Quinto 11, Banchero 8, Newsome 7, Black 3, Almazan 2, Pasaol 2, Belo 0, Canete 0, Caram 0.
Phoenix ( 90) — Maxwell 26, Jazul 16, Wright 13, Perkins 12, Rios 11, Manganti 5, Garcia 4, Demusis 3, Melecio 0, Salva 0, Porter 0.
Quarterscores: 37-28, 56-55, 88-68, 109-90.
TNT (106)- M.Williams 28, Castro 15, Fuller 15, Pogoy 11, K.Williams 10, Rosario 6, Erram 6, Montalbo 5, Khobuntin 5, Reyes 5, Heruela 0.
NorthPort (101) – Artis 39, Bolick 22, Santos 16, Malonzo 13, Balanza 6, Taha 3, Ferrer 2, Rike 0.
Quarterscores: 29-14, 54-39, 72-73, 90-90, 106-101.