Meralco forces decider vs SMB

AARON BLACK and Meralco poured it all when it mattered most as the Bolts beat the San Miguel Beermen, 96-92, in Game 6 on Sunday to send their semifinals series to the limit in the Philippine Basketball Association Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts looked goners after they trailed 26-42 in the second quarter, but they patiently clawed their way back and with Black sinking 11 straight points in a 16-2 run, the Beermen were a team groping for form at crunch time.

“We we’re determined to win today,” said Black, who made 11 of his 17 points in the payoff period to go along with six assists and five rebounds. “I would like to thank Raymund [Almazan], Cliff [Hodge] and the other bigs for providing me screens to get space.”

Game 7 is set Wednesday also at the Big Dome.

“Our defense as a team late in the game was also huge,” Black added.

Black completed a three-point play to give the Bolts a 93-90 cushion with only 31 seconds to go.

CJ Perez had an opportunity to send the game into overtime after being fouled by Black as he was attempting a three-point shot.

Perez, who finished with 13 points for the Beermen, only made two of three free throws for a 93-92 Meralco lead with 10 seconds remaining.

Black was sent to the foul line twice and made 3 of 4 to seal the victory.

“I’m really proud of Aaron [Black] not just tonight but also where he came from as a basketball player,” his father Norman, the Bolts head coach, said. “He really improved a lot as a basketball player for the couple of years.”

Chris Newsome scattered 19 points, including two triples, and had seven rebounds and three assists while Cliff Hodge tallied 17 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for Meralco.

Raymund Almazan contributed 11 points and seven rebounds also for the Bolts.

June Mar Fajardo led the Beermen with 23 points and 13 rebounds for San Miguel Beer, which led 56-45 at the half.