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PBA: Bolts remain unbeaten, edge Batang Pier

Games Wednesday (Ynares Center, Antipolo)
4:15 p.m. – Blackwater vs SMB
7 p.m. – Mahindra vs Brgy. Ginebra

Anjo CaramAnjo Caram staked his claim to the title ‘Terrence Romeo Stopper’ yesterday as the Meralco Bolts turned back the Globalport Batang Pier, 96-88, to extend their unbeaten slate to 5-0 in the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Globalport failed to weather the absence of the injured half of its dynamic duo Stanley Pringle and fell to its second straight loss and a 2-3 win-loss card.

Jared Dillinger led the Bolts with 17 points coming off the bench while rookie Chris Newsome added 15 as a starter and wide-bodied import Arinze Onuako 13 points with 14 rebounds, half-dragging his bulk up and down the court all afternoon.

Dillinger hit a three-pointer to wrest lead back to the Bolts, 78-76, halfway in the fourth after Globalport had rallied from 11 points down in the first half behind the outside shooting of Anthony Semerad, some spectacular plays from Romeo and the 29 points and 19 rebounds of undersized reinforcement Calvin Warner.

Globalport seized the upper hand briefly after Jonathan Uyloan buried a way-out triple and a free throw, 80-78, before Newsome came to the rescue with four consecutive foul shots and a basket to cap a decisive 10-1 run, 88-81.

During that two-minute stretch, Caram went around two baseline screens and hit a 15-footer against the late challenge of Romeo, who was already on the bench as a spectator when the former San Beda Red Lion stalwart hit another jumper to make it 92-84 for the Bolts in the closing seconds.

Both were involved in a breathtaking sequence in the third quarter, however, that may have defined the fate of the game.

With Globalport ahead, 49-45, as Romeo worked his magic and Warner outhustled Onuaku, the Bolts struck with 11 unanswered points climaxed by Caram’s swipe on a dribbling Romeo and the ensuing fast break layup.

Hounded by Caram, the former Far Eastern University star shot 4 of 14 from the floor although he did have five assists, a sign that Romeo may be expanding his game perspective outside his dazzling offense.

Pringle, who sprained his right ankle during the game against San Miguel Beer, could be out at least a week more, team insiders bared.

Meanwhile, a crowd of 16,126 yelled itself hoarse from buzzer to buzzer as Barangay Ginebra San Miguel rallied from six points down halfway in the fourth quarter to thwart the Star Hotshots, 92-87, in their much-awaited Manila Classico.

MERALCO 96 – Dillinger 17, Newsome 15, Onuaku 13, Hugnatan 12, Amer 9, Caram 8, Hodge 6, David 5, Nabong 4, Alapag 4, Bono 2, Faundo 2.

GLOBALPORT 88 – Warner 29, Romeo 18, Semerad 11, Taha 11, Uyloan 7, Mamaril 6, Washington 4, Kramer 2, Jensen 0, Sumang 0.

Quarters: 25-17, 40-38, 65-65, 96-88.

Second Game
GINEBRA 92 – Jeffers 23, Aguilar 15, Slaughter 14, Tenorio 12, Caguioa 8, Ellis 8, Mercado 7, Thompson 3, Devance 2, Marcelo 0.

STAR 87 – Barroca 16, Bowles 15, Simon 14, Pingris 13, Yap 10, Maliksi 9, Pascual 6, Reavis 2, Sangalang 2, Melton 0.

Quarters: 29-24, 56-48, 66-74, 92-87.