29 October 2014

Bolts 83, Elite 75

Cliff Hodge
Another overtime game for the Meralco Bolts, but it also gave them their second win in as many starts.

After veteran Reynel Hugnatan bailed them out last time, it is now the turn of shooter John Wilson to shot the lights out in overtime where he scored all of his nine points, including two three-pointers as the Bolts turned back the Blackwater Elite, 83-75, Tuesday night (28 October) to grab a share of leadership in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

It was the second overtime decision in as many games for the Bolts, who edged Barako Bull in double OT 112-108 last October 22 and this one created a four-way tie on top among Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, San Miguel Beer, Alaska Aces and Meralco.

Norman Black, the Bolts coach, said he didn’t mind so much going the extra distance as long as they come out winners.

"That’s what important although I don't actually like overtimes," said Black, who took over the Bolts in the off-season after handling Talk ‘N Text for two seasons.

Noted for his unique shooting form where the ball is launched from cocked arms behind his head, Wilson missed his first triples in regulation but found his mark when the embattled Bolts needed them most.

Cliff Hodge posted career highs of 26 points and 18 rebounds while shooting 11 of 20 from the floor and while Rey Guevarra added 10 points for Meralco which recorded the first-ever 2-0 start in a season and in the Philippine Cup in franchise history.

But it was Wilson’s shooting that save the day for the Bolts, who squandered a 67-55 fourth quarter lead.

With Alex Nuyles turning hot, hitting 10 of his 14 points in the last 12 minutes, and Paul Artadi adding four, the Elite, still in search for their first win after dropping their first two games, charged back to tie the game on a top-of-the-key 3-pointer from Riego Gamalinda, 14.8 seconds to go.

Meralco called time and a driving Gary David drew three defenders on him before dishing off to Reynel Hugnatan, whose one-pump, point-blank shot rolled out. Elite center Jason Ballesteros grabbed the rebound before Sean Anthony then tied up Ballesteros and Meralco, behind Wilson, decisively took care of business, 13-5, in the extra five minutes.

Wilson’s first triple made it 73-72 with 3:40 to go in overtime and his second made it 78-72.

Blackwater fell to its third straight loss in its maiden conference in the pros.

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