Meralco came out well prepared against the reigning all-Filipino four-peat champ San Miguel Beer, fashioning out a morale-boosting 93-85 victory to improve to joint second place in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the MOA Arena in Pasay City Wednesday night.
Backcourt tandem Baser Amer and Chris Newsome combined for 51 big points while Arinze Onuaku produced a near triple-double game with 13 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists as the Bolts humbled the Beermen for their third win in four starts in the mid-season tourney.
They caught up with the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters at second place behind the unbeaten TNT Ka Tropa Texters (3-0)
SMB import Troy Gillenwater sparkled with 17 points in the first half but struggled for just two in the second half while Christian Standhardinger played off the bench in his PBA debut and came through with just four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
The whole SMB team looked rusty.
“We were hoping to catch them a little bit early and rusty. We focused on defense because that’s the only way we thing we can win games,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Amer played well all night, making 5-of-6 treys to highlight a wondrous 28-point game. The heady guard also came through with eight rebounds, three assists and one steal against three turnovers.
Newsome formed a lethal double treat at the backcourt with Amer as the former Ateneo player came up with 23 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Onuaku provided the needed inside presence and hit crucial free throws at endgame.
The game was tied at 79-all before Onuaku and Amer combined in a key tear that gave Meralco an 88-81 lead with less than two minutes left to play.
The Beermen failed to recover and hastened their downfall on errors and lapses in the last two minutes.