Merlaco Bolts 103 – Blackwater 98
The last time the Blackwater Elite and Meralco Bolts met, the Elite gave the Bolts everything they could handle in the quarterfinals of the Governor’s Cup. That was when they were at full strength. This time around, the Bolts were missing front court pieces so they relied on KG Canaleta to bail them out.
Canaleta played with Blackwater last season but the two parties couldn’t agree on a new deal. The veteran forward signed with Meralco and made an impact in his first game with his new team. The Elite took a 12-point lead in the second period. Their offense was clicking while the Bolts were misfiring, scoring only 27 points midway through the second quarter. Meralco found their rhythm near the end of the half to tie the game at 44. Canaleta sparked a run in the third period. He scored six straight points to get the run started.
Meralco took an 87-69 lead in the fourth quarter before the Elite went on a 24-8 run to cut the Bolts lead down to three points, 98-95. Canaleta saved Meralco with a banking three-pointer to extend the lead to six points which was enough cushion to hold on to the win. He finished with 25 points on five three-pointers to lead Meralco in scoring.
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters 82 – TNT KaTropa 79
Before the season started, coaches unanimously named the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters and the TNT KaTropa as contenders to the crown. In their first meeting this season, both teams went full tilt before the Elasto Painters escaped with the big win.
Rain or Shine held the lead for most of the game, content to keep TNT at bay. The Elasto Painters held a nine-point lead to start the final period, but the KaTropa went on a run to take the lead briefly, 68-66. Rain or Shine took control of the game again with a 10-0 run. TNT made a last gasp push for the win in the final minutes. A Kelly Williams put back slam and three-pointer got the KaTropa to within three points. Raymond Almaza lost the ball in the next possession allowing TNT one last chance to win the game.
Thankfully for Rain or Shine, Alamazan made up for his miscue with strong defense on Jayson Castro denying a game-tying attempt from the Blur. Four players scored in double figures for Rain or Shine, led by Beau Belga with 14 points. Chris Tiu scored 12 points while Almazan and Gabe Norwood combined for 22 points.