PBA: Meralco stuns San Miguel Beer to earn No. 1 seed in playoffs

Paul Lintag, ABS-CBN Sports

Posted at Sep 24 2017 09:31 PM | Updated as of Sep 24 2017 10:24 PM

Meralco has a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against Blackwater. Richard Esguerra, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA -- (UPDATED) Meralco's revenge tour has earned them the No. 1 overall seed for the 2017 Governors' Cup.

The Bolts completed a stunning comeback against San Miguel, scoring a pulsating 104-101 victory Sunday at the Big Dome.

With a 9-2 record, Meralco is No. 1 entering the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, taking a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals against No. 8 Blackwater.

Down by as many as 18 in the second half, the Bolts had to claw their way back in the game behind the herculean effort of reigning Best Import Allen Durham.

Durham fired 25 points in the second half, 14 in the fourth, including two go-ahead layups late in the game.

The first was a driving conversion over Terrence Watson and June Mar Fajardo that gave Meralco a 100-98 lead with 58.3 seconds to go. After Chris Ross responded with a booming three to regain the lead for the Beermen, Durham grabbed the rebound from his own miss before scoring a putback as the Bolts took a 102-101 advantage in the final 27.9 seconds.

After a crucial defensive stop by the Bolts, Durham then buried the insurance free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining and Meralco beat San Miguel for the first time in seven games.

"That was just a great second half for our team. We tried to make some adjustments at halftime because we thought we played horrible basketball in the first half and we tried to implement adjustments that the players went out and executed. It was still very difficult, took us a long time to really get our bearings and get on a run," head coach Norman Black said.

"We gave ourselves a chance to win at the endgame and we did," he added.

On top of his 35 points, Durham also grabbed 13 rebounds and dished out eight assists. Jared Dillinger was the top local for Meralco after scoring 16 points while Chris Newsome had 14.

Baser Amer, who hit the big three to tie things up at 98, ended up with 13.

Leading all game long, San Miguel's Grand Slam hopes took a major hit after this unlikely collapse. At 7-4, the Beermen landed at sixth place after the quotients were applied.

A matchup with defending champion Barangay Ginebra now looms for the Beermen and the Gin Kings hold a twice-to-beat advantage.

Fajardo led the way for San Miguel, pouring 26 points. Watson and Marcio Lassiter added 18 apiece.

The scores:

MERALCO 104 - Durham 35, Dillinger 16, Newsome 14, Amer 13, Hodge 8, Tolomia 8, De Ocampo 6, Nabong 2, Hugnatan 2, Lanete 0.

SAN MIGUEL 101 - Fajardo 26, Lassiter 18, Watson 18, Cabagnot 16, Ross 10, Santos 6, Rosser 4, Espinas 3, Heruela 0.

Quarter scores: 19-32, 39-51, 69-81, 104-101.

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