Meralco needed 10 extra minutes to dispatch NorthPort, 126-123, and snap a three-game losing skid in the PBA Philippine Cup Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Chris Newsome had a near-triple double performance (28 points, 12 rebounds ansd seven assists) for the Bolts, who had to stave off multiple attempts by the Batang Pier to send the game into another overtime.
Baser Amer appeared to break the game wide-open and turn a one-possession game into an eight-point lead after hitting two straight threes, including a stepback trey that put it at 121-113 with 2:13 left in the second OT.
But NorthPort still stayed within striking distance in the final 10 seconds after Mo Tautuaa converted on an alley-oop play off the timeout to cut the lead to two, 123-125.
Nico Salva split his free throws to leave the door open for the Batang Pier to create something, but Meralco had one more foul to give and used it on Stanley Pringle, who turned the ball over midcourt in the dying moments to seal it for the Bolts.
Cliif Hodged added 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Amer also chipped in 23 for Meralco, who improved to 3-5.
“That was a hard-fought game between two teams that are really fighting for their lives to stay in the playoffs. Especially us. Just happy that the players never gave up. There were stretches in the fourth quarter where it looked dim for us, but we were able to execute some plays down the stretch to send the game into overtime and give ourselves a chance to win in double overtime,” Meralco head coach Norman Black said.
NorthPort was led by Pringle, who scored eight in that late double OT push to finish with 33 points.
The Batang Pier also wasted a terrific effort from Sean Anthony, who put up 31 points, 16 rebounds and four assists in 51 minutes on the floor tonight.
NorthPort appeared to be on its way to a win after erecting a 106-100 lead with 30 seconds left in regulation, but two free throws and Newsome and a floater from Hodge kept the Bolts in it.
A turnover from Anthony later set the stage for a game-tying basket from Newsome, who converted on an alley-oop of the inbounds with under three seconds left.
In the first overtime, Meralco had a chance to finally win it, but Nico Salva airballed a trey on an out-of-timeout play to push the game into another OT.
MERALCO (126) – Newsome 28, Hodge 23, Amer 23, Salva 16, de Ocampo 15, Jackson 11, Quinto 4, Hugnatan 4, Pinto 2, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0, Canaleta 0, Caram 0, Jamito 0.
NORTHPORT (123) – Pringle 33, Anthony 31, Tautaa 21, Grey 15, Bolick 5, Taha 4, elorde 4, Guinto 4, Sollano 2, Arana 2, Flores 2, Lanete 0, Gabanyi 0.