MANILA – The Meralco Bolts lived to fight another day as Aaron Black took Game 6 in his hands.
Black dropped 11 of Meralco’s 16-2 closeout to steal the match from the San Miguel Beermen, 96-92, and force a deciding Game 7 in their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series Sunday.
Black, who would end up with 17 points, spoiled what seemed to be an impending win for Beermen who had a 90-80 lead, less than five minutes in the match.
He connected a triple with 1:41 left in the clock before tying the match at 90-all from a pair of free throws.
Black eventually gave the Bolts the lead with a completed three-point play, 93-90, with 31 seconds remaining.
CJay Perez had the chance to knot the game at 93 from the charity line but missed one of his three free throws, 92-93. Three more bonus shots from Black dealt Beermen the loss.
Up by double digits heading to the second half, the Beermen saw their lead gradually falling away as Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi waged an attack to start the third.
Newsome drained a three-pointer before Maliksi scored off a jumpshot to trim Meralco’s deficit, 55-60.
San Miguel, however, held the upper hand tightly as Vic Manuel registered a layup for a 70-63 advantage, 2:58 left in the third period.
Chris Banchero equalized the match to begin the payoff period with a trey, 74-all.
Newsome topscored for the Bolts with 19 points while Cliff Hodge had 17 markers to go along with 12 boards.
Meanwhile, June Mar Fajardo poured in 23 points while Manuel had 16. They received solid support from Cjay Perez and Marcio Lassiter, who added 27 combined markers.
The Beermen flexed muscle early to draw a separation against Meralco at the start of the second period as they dropped a 9-0 run, capped by a layup from Tautuaa, 42-26.