MANILA, Philippines–Meralco took a share of the lead in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup on Thursday night after dismantling Converge, 90-74, at Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Aaron Black, Chris Newsome, and Allein Maliksi figured a fourth-quarter run that made the FiberXers look like they didn’t belong on the same floor with them, eventually handing the young club its first blowout in the pioneering pro league.
“Our defense is the bread and butter of Meralco. We just play good defense and let our offense follow,” said Black, who wound up with 25 points and five assists.
Maliksi tossed in 22 while Newsome 19 as Meralco joined idle San Miguel Beer atop the standings.
Converge got the goods from Taylor Browne, a sophomore who spent his rookie season as a reserve for the now-disbanded Alaska Aces. He finished with 14 points built on 4-for-5 three-point shooting.
The FiberXers, which dropped to 1-4, still looked with so much promise as Jeo Ambohot racked up 10 points and 11 rebounds spiked with four blocks.
Meralco plays 2-2 TNT next in a battle of sister teams this Sunday.
Converge, meanwhile, shoots for a crucial win against winless Terrafirma Wednesday next week.
Meralco 90 – Black 25, Maliksi 22, Newsome 19, Hodge 6, Hugnatan 6, Almazan 5, Jose 4, Quinto 3, Banchero 0, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Pascual 0, Baclao 0.
Converge 74 – Browne 14, Ambohot 10, Teng 8, Adamos 7, Digregorio 6, Racal 6, Ahanmisi 5, Arana 4, Lojera 4, Murrell 3, Tolomia 2, Hill 2, Stockton 2, Ilagan 1, Bulanadi 0.
Quarters: 20-23, 44-35, 61-60, 90-74.
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