New Meralco Bolt KG Canaleta drives past Blackwater Elite forward and Gilas trooper Mac Belo during the two teams' first PBA game of the 43rd season in a rare affair at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City, Friday night. | PBA Images

Cañaleta helps Meralco escape Blackwater
Denison Rey A. Dalupang ( - December 22, 2017 - 10:45am

MANILA, Philippines — Meralco’s latest acquisition in KG Cañaleta delivered in the clutch to put a pesky Blackwater side for good, 103-98, in a rare PBA affair at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City.

Cañaleta, a journeyman whom the Bolts picked up in the offseason, drilled the trey in the final 11 seconds of the game to go and make it 101-95

Elite gunner Allein Maliksi responded with a long bomb of his own to threaten Meralco, 101-98, with two ticks on the clock. 

But the one-time PBA champion and former league Most Improved Player was not letting off his foot on the pedal. Cañaleta went on to knock down two shots from the charity stripe to seal the deal for the Bolts.

"I thought we did a good job of recovering from a slow start today, especially in the first half. I thought Blackwater played very well, put a lot of pressure on us and forced us into a lot of turnovers," Meralco head coach Norman Black said.

"We did recover a little bit late in the second quarter and it carried over into the second half where we got off to a good start. But the energy that we spent trying to get that big lead really cost us down the stretch because we gave that lead up just as quickly as we got it," he added.

"We made some big shots down the stretch, Baser Amer's prayer was a big shot for us. And I like to just give special mention to KG who I thought was exceptional tonigt, scoring and rebounding. He's going to be a very good addition to our team," Black said.

The 6-foot-6 Cañaleta finished with 25 markers, nine boards and two assists.

Black said the real challenge begins now as they face three-time Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen next.

The scores: 

MERALCO 103 – Canaleta 25, Amer 17, Dillinger 15, Newsome 12, Lanete 8, Ballesteros 6, Tolomia 6, Baracael 5, Faundo 4, Hugnatan 3, Caram 2, Salva 0. 

BLACKWATER 98 – Jose 16, Maliksi 16, Sumang 15, Belo 13, Erram 11, Cortez 8, Javier 6, DiGregorio 6, Sena 4, Pinto 3, Cruz 0, Banal 0, Marcelo 0. 

Quarters: 23-27; 44-44; 77-66; 103-98.


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