Meralco Bolts 90 – Phoenix Fuel Masters 74 (Meralco extends series)
The Meralco Bolts continued their hot streak from the eliminations and carried it over all the way to the Quarterfinals. After winning four straight games to close out the elims, the Bolts added a crucial fifth win against the Phoenix Fuel Masters. That means they avoid elimination and extend their series to a do-or-die game.
The Bolts and Fuel Masters were locked in an all-out defensive war in the first half. The two teams focused on stopping one another. They limited each other to below 20 points in the the first two quarters. Phoenix slightly edged out Meralco, 35-33 heading into the half.
The Bolts adjusted their offense to find more openings for Durham in the second half. From a 43-all count early in the third period, the Bolts jumped out to a 17-2 blast to completely take over the game. Baser Amer and Chris Newsome sparked the run with five straight points before Phelps answered with a layup. From there, Durham took over with five points in a 12-0 run that gave Meralco a 15-point lead.
The Fuel Masters would only get as close as nine points in the final period as Durham had an answer to every Phoenix bucket. Durham had 26 points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. Newsome added 16 points and three assists. Amer finished with 14 points and six assists.
Alaska Aces 96 – San Miguel Beermen 85 (Alaska advances to the Semifinals)
The Alaska Aces finally get a win over the San Miguel Beermen in the playoffs. After falling repeatedly to the Beermen in the past three years, the Aces finally got the chance to eliminate the Beermen in a playoff series.
The Aces shut down the Beermen in the third quarter to take over the game. They used a big second half surge to ensure that there would be no more heartbreaks at the hands of the Beermen. They started the second half with an 11-0 run and limited San Miguel to just seven points in that stretch. Noy Baclao, Kevin Racal, Simon Enciso and Mike Harris all got on the board to start the second half as Alaska rushed ahead, 54-42.
From there, the Aces sensed blood in the water and went for the kill. Jeron Teng, Enciso and Harris all scored in the paint to extend their 15-point lead to 21 early in the fourth period. Even when Harris had to go to the bench with cramps, the Aces never wavered. When San Miguel tried to mount a comeback, Alaska executed their offense cleanly to get back-to-back Baclao hits. That shut the door for the Beermen.
Harris led the way with 25 points and 17 rebounds. He single-handedly kept Alaska afloat in the first half, scoring 17 in that stretch. Enciso had 15 points and three treys. Manuel scored 14 points while Baclao had six and 10 boards.
Photo from PBA.ph