Meralco loses again

September 29, 2018

NONTHABURI, Thailand – PBA team Meralco put up a brave stand before losing to Alvark Tokyo, 73-84, in a tight and exciting game in   the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018  at the Stadium 29  here Friday.

Alex Kirk finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds and  Daika Tanaka added 17 points, including two clutch baskets  down the stretch, as  the Japanese  staved off a furious rally by the Filipinos to  claim  their second straight win in Group B.

Tanaka, who  went 3-of-5  from the rainbow territory, also had  five rebounds and seven  assists for the Japanese, who  debuted with an upset 87-76 win  over defending champion  Al-Riyadi of Lebanon last Thursday.

An  alley-oop by Alex Kirk from  an assist by Seiya Ando with one minute left in the game put the final nail to the coffin  of the Bolts.

Two-time PBA Best Import winner Allen Durham  finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds and  Diamond Stone  added 28 points and eight rebounds for Meralco, which bowed out of contention with its second  straight setback.

Only three local players --Reynel   Hugnatan, Basser Amer and   Laneta -- managed  to score for the Bolts, who  missedkey players Chris Newsome, Jared  Dillinger and  Ranidel de Ocampo.

The Bolts succumbed to host Mono Vampire Thailand, 92-100.

So  impressive were  the Japanese  that seven of their players  scored  at  least six points to underscore their  balanced offensive game.

Actually, the  Japanese  established as  many  as 11- point lead.

But the Bolts came charging back to tie t he score at 60all,   as able to  finally  tie the game at 60  after Durham and   Amer hit  back-to-back  baskets against theJapanese’s  tight defense.

But a 6-0 run by the Japanese,  capped   by   a  lay-up by Tanaka, enabled Alvark  to regain control.

Tanaka  himself  nailed a  triple  to open a 75-66 lead for Alvark with only 3:09  remaining.

Meralco will try to avert  going home with a winless record when it  meets Al  Riyadi  at  the close of elimination round Saturday.

The  scores:

Alvark Tokyo  (84) -- Kirk 23, Tanaka 17, Kojima 12, Ando 9,  Bjelica 8, Takeuchi 8, Baba 6, Kikuchi 1, Saito 0, Shonaka 0.

Meralco 73 – Durham 31, Stone 28, Hugnatan 6, Amer 5, Lanete 3, Canaleta 0,  Jamito 0, Ballesteros 0, Caram 0, Tolomia 0.

Quarterscores: 19-17; 35-37; 60-56; 84-73.