Baser Amer and Alex Stepheson came to the rescue for Meralco late as it eked out an 89-83 victory over Rain or Shine to keep its slate unblemished Wednesday in the 2017 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at Mall of Asia Arena.
The two connected on a pick-and-roll play in the final 26.5 seconds to quash the Elasto Painters’ belated rally and secure the Bolts’ fourth straight victory.
Stepheson paced Meralco with 21 points, 15 rebounds, and two blocks, while Amer registered 17 markers, 11 boards, and six assists.
“From my perspective, it’s another good defensive outing for us. We limited Rain or Shine to below 90 points and that’s good for us,” said coach Norman Black.
After an Amer banker gave the Bolts an 85-76 lead in the final 1:41, Rain or Shine went on a huge 7-0 blast to chip away the lead and get to as close as two, 85-83 with 40.1 seconds left. But it was then when Amer and Stepheson conspired for the huge play to take the air out of the Elasto Painters.
Cliff Hodge also got 12 points and eight rebounds in the win.
It was Rain or Shine’s first defeat of the conference as it drops down to a 3-1 slate.
Shawn Taggart carried the Elasto Painters with 27 points and 13 rebounds, while Jericho Cruz had 12 markers and five boards.
MERALCO 89 – Stepheson 21, Amer 17, Hodge 12, Dillinger 9, Nabong 8, Newsome 7, Daquioag 6, Caram 6, Hugnatan 3, Chua 0, Faundo 0, Uyloan 0.
RAIN OR SHINE 83 – Taggart 27, Cruz 12, Norwood 9, Almazan 8, Chan 7, Ahanmisi 6, Yap 6, Belga 5, Washington 3, Tiu 0, Tolomia 0, Ponferrada 0, Trollano 0.
Quarters: 17-13, 45-34, 64-59, 89-83.