30 March 2017

Bolts 89, Elastopainters 83

Baser Amer
Alex Stepheson as usual delivered his regular double-double game, but it was Baser Amer's sterling all-around performance that helped carry the Meralco Bolts to its fourth straight win. The team fought with a lockdown defense to keep its unbeaten run in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup with an 89-83 dumping of Rain or Shine last 18 March at the MOA Arena.

Stepheson came up with 21 points and 15 rebounds while Amer delivered 17 markers and 11 boards in a rare double-double game as the Bolts sustained their hot start in the mid-season tourney, seizing the solo lead.

Stepheson, Amer and their teammates all played tough defense, holding Rain or Shine down to 30-percent shooting and going on to deal the Elasto Painters a first loss in four games.

For their fourth straight game, the Bolts limited their opponents below 90 points.

Offensively, Stepheson and Amer shone brightest for the team. As the E-Painters threatened to within two, at 85-87, the two worked on a key pick-and-roll play that clinched the win for Meralco.

In the ensuing play, Stepheson cleared the board following a missed trey by Shawn Taggart, and Chris Newsome made it 89-83 on two charities off a flagrant infraction by Beau Belga.

"Ang ganda ng team offense at team defense namin," said Amer, winning the Best Player of the Game honors with his double-double game he also laced with six assists and one steal against two turnovers.

The former San Beda Lion highlighted his game with three gutsy baskets against the Rain or Shine import.

Reynel Hugnatan, Jared Dillinger and Newsome had their crucial buckets in a crucial attack that gave Meralco an 83-72 cushion with 2:49 left to play.

Curiously, the E-Painters still managed to get back into the game only to fizzle out in the end.

Taggart led the E-Painters with 27 points and 13 rebounds.

Meralco made it two in a row over Rain or Shine in the season as the Bolts claimed one of their only three wins in the Philippine Cup against the E-Painters.

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