Meralco repulsed San Miguel’s comeback bid sparked by Terrence Romeo to eke out a 93-87 win and sustain its strong start in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday, July 18 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Backcourt partners Aaron Black and Chris Newsome delivered the finishing blows as the Bolts kept the Beermen at bay shortly after Romeo suffered an injury for an early league lead with a 2-0 record.
Meralco posted its third straight triumph against a now-full force San Miguel which welcomed back Romeo and six-time MVP June Fajardo coming off injuries while having CJ Perez debut for his new squad.
“It’s good to get a win against San Miguel and get them behind us this early,” said coach Norman Black, whose Bolts ended the Beermen’s unprecedented five-year reign in the all-Filipino conference after overcoming a twice-to-win disadvantage in their quarterfinals duel back in the bubble last year.
John Pinto waxed hot and sank three triples to lead Meralco to a 74-59 advantage in the third quarter.
Romeo, who recovered from a dislocated shoulder he sustained in the Clark bubble, kindled San Miguel’s fourth quarter run but twisted his ankle and apparently heard a pop on his left knee before exiting the court with 8:32 left in the game.
The Beermen continued what the 29-year-old flamboyant guard started, inching to as close as 77-79 on Marcio Lassiter’s trey with 5:31 remaining.
Black knocked down back-to-back triples while Newsome hit a baseline jumper and a dagger three-pointer with 40.4 ticks left to punctuate the victory.
Newsome fired 17 points on top of six assists and four rebounds while Black put up 14 markers and veteran Reynel Hugnatan added 13 points for the Bolts who followed up their 85-63 thrashing of the NorthPort Batang Pier last Friday.
Romeo, who was feared to have suffered an MCL injury and scheduled to undergo an MRI scan, led San Miguel with 18 points, three boards and two dimes even as Perez and Mo Tautuaa chipped in 17 markers each.
Fajardo made his return from a shin fracture but only had five points and five rebounds as he was on a restricted playing minutes.
Meralco 93 – Newsome 17, Black 14, Hugnatan 13, Pinto 11, Quinto 9, Pasaol 7, Belo 7, Maliksi 7, Almazan 4, Hodge 4, Jackson 0
San Miguel 87 – Romeo 18, Tautuaa 17, Perez 17, Lassiter 11, Santos 8, Fajardo 5, Ross 5, Cabagnot 4, Gotladera 2, Pessumal 0,
Quarters : 18-25, 42-41, 74-59, 93-87