PBA Friday: No Abueva vs. Alaska semis as Meralco eliminates Phoenix

PBA-Meralco vs Phoenix

It’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.

The Meralco Bolts certainly gave truth to the cliched old adage as they rose from a disastrous 1-6 start in the eliminations and erased the Phoenix Fuel Masters’ twice-to-beat advantage in the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.

FOX Sports Philippines lays out the most interesting developments from yesterday’s win-or-go-home duel inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Unstoppable three-headed monster

One of Meralco’s strongest intangible is Allen Durham’s familiarity with the Bolts’ roster, having played for coach Norman Black since 2016.

The surging team once again banked on that camaraderie by handing the second-seeded Fuel Masters a 108-103 defeat in overtime last night and advance to the Semifinals.

The trio of Durham, Baser Amer, and Chris Newsome led the charge and accounted for 77 of the team’s 108 points.

The 30-year-old reinforcement flexed his guns all night long and was one-assist shy of a triple-double, posting 32 markers, 21 boards, and nine dimes.

Amer, on the other hand, drained 5 of his 11 attempts from distance for 26 points on top of 5 rebounds and 4 caroms.

Newsome’s activity on both ends of the floor was crucial as well, adding 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Resiliency is key

PBA-Newsome

After a comfortable 30-point rout of San Miguel in the final game of the eliminations, Meralco proved that they are also capable of surmounting big deficits.

The Bolts were behind by as much as 16 points early in the second quarter, but kept themselves in the game through patient offensive sets and cohesive team defense on the other end.

The Fuel Masters, who averaged 18 turnovers in the eliminations, took care of the rock this game and only committed 10 infractions, contrary to the Bolts’ 15.

But the team could not come up with clutch baskets when it mattered the most and got outscored 14-9 in the extra period.

 ‘El Destructor’ couldn’t wreak havoc

PBA-Phelps

Eugene Phelps terrorized the league in the 11-game eliminations, norming averages of 29.73 points, 18.55 rebounds, 3.18 assists, and 2.91 blocks.

Coach Black, however, seemed to have found a way to slow down the prolific import in their last two games, as he only tallied with 18 points (5-12 shooting) in the deciding match.

Meralco also took advantage of Phelps’ lackluster free throw shooting, as he only made 8 of his 15 trips from the charity stripe (53 percent).

Jason Perkins and Matthew Wright carried the scoring load for Phoenix, contributing 24 and 20 markers, respectively.

More stars show up for ‘The Beast’

Calvin Abueva’s dear friend Vice Ganda stole headlines when he showed up in two of the Fuel Masters’ games in the eliminations.

The TV star once again made an appearance in the pivotal do-or-die match and brought his ‘Showtime’ co-hosts Karylle and Ryan Bang.

Despite the overwhelming support, Abueva figured in an off night and went 4-18 from the field (22 percent) and missed all of his five three-point attempts. He finished with 10 points, 9 boards, 4 assists, and two blocks.

(Images from PBA Media Group)

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