MANILA -- Meralco struck back in Game 2 to level their best-of-7 semifinal series against San Miguel Beer as they welcomed back coach Norman Black on Friday.
The Bolts won, 99-88, against the Beermen to make it a 1-1 tie in their PBA Philippine Cup semis duel.
Cliff Hodge had 17 points and 14 rebounds for Meralco, which also got 15 points each from Aaron Black and Allein Maliksi.
Coach Black flew back from the United States after taking a leave to spend time with his mother, who passed away just recently.
After getting destroyed in Game 1, 121-97, the Bolts brought back their clampdown defense to prevent the Beermen from taking off.
Black also credited Meralco for playing unselfish basketball.
"That's something we always preach, to give out about 25-26 assists a game. We want everybody to get involved in the game," he said.
"It will be a little bit more difficult for teams to stop us if it’s more manageable, all around, and a lot of guys scoring.”
Black also thanked his coaching staff for looking after the team while he was away.
"I just arrived 12 midnight yesterday so I just had to adapt quickly to what's going on," he said. "I took a look at the game they played (last time), tried to make adjustments for this game."
Marcio Lassiter scored 16 for San Miguel, while CJ Perez and Jericho Cruz had 14 and 11, respectively.
Meralco 99 - Hodge 17, Black 15, Maliksi 15, Newsome 14, Jose 13, Banchero 9, Quinto 9, Almazan 7, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0, Pascual 0, Belo 0, Caram 0.
Sand Miguel 88 - Fajardo 22, Lassiter 16, Perez 14, Cruz 11, Manuel 7, Herndon 6, Tautuaa 5, Brondial 4, Ross 3, Enciso 0.
Quarters: 34-20, 51-48, 76-72, 99-88
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