Meralco Bolts 116 – Columbian Dyip 103
The Meralco Bolts foiled the Columbian Dyip’s attempt at a second straight win with a run to pull away late in their game.
Bolstered by their conference-opening win, Columbian Dyip started the game strong. They used a balanced scoring attack led by import CJ Aiken to take a six-point lead in the first quarter. The Dyip rang up 31 points in the first quarter, brandishing their strong offense early in the game. Meralco focused on slowing the game down to prevent Columbian from getting out and running. They centered their attack on their big man Arinze Onuaku. The Bolts repeatedly went Onuaku who powered his way in the paint. From being down by six after 12 minutes, Meralco headed into the fourth quarter up by six points.
Columbian tried to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter when they cut the lead down to just four points in the opening minutes. But KG Canaleta came alive. He led a run in the final period, spiked by three treys. That explosion by Canaleta opened up a 13-point lead heading into the final minutes of the game. Columbian cut the lead back down to single-digits but a 5-0 run sparked by an Onuaku power-move in the paint gave Meralco enough of a cushion to pull away with the win. Onuaku finished with monster numbers. He tallied 30 points, 19 rebounds, six assists, three steals and four blocks.
Phoenix Fuel Masters 107 – Blackwater Elite 102
The Phoenix Fuel Masters almost suffered a huge collapse but they got timely shots to go in the final minutes to hold on to the win over the Blackwater Elite.
The Fuel Masters reminded everyone of their high-octane attack from the Philippine Cup. This time around, they have an athletic, multi-faceted import leading the charge. James White was nearly unstoppable in the first half. He was too big and too strong for any of the Blackwater forwards and he was too fast for Blackwater import, Jarrid Famous. White scored eight points in the first five minutes of the game as Phoenix jumped out to a double-digit lead to set the tone in the first half. Matthew Wright joined the scoring barrage as the Fuel Masters built a 42-20 lead midway through the game.
In danger of losing control of the game, the Elite woke up in the second half. The locals led the run in the third quarter. Allein Maliksi, Mike DiGregorio, Mac Belo and Roi Sumang all hit a three-pointer each in the third quarter as Blackwater cut the lead down to single digits and as close as three-points. They continued that run in the fourth quarter and finally pulled even on a Belo three-pointer with 2:30 left in the game.
White had a momentum-shifting put back dunk. Willie Wilson had a big and-one play to follow-up White’s dunk to extend the lead to five. DiGregorio cut the lead down to two points heading into the final minutes but Wright nailed a tough layup to preserve the win. White led the team with 31 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, two steals and five blocks.