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Blackwater keeps Meralco at bay in PBA Philippine Cup opener

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Blackwater keeps Meralco at bay in PBA Philippine Cup opener
Rey Nambatac (27) had a debut to remember for the Blackwater Bossing.
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- The Blackwater Bossing weathered a furious fourth quarter rally by the Meralco Bolts and held on to notch the first win in the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup, 96-93, Wednesday night at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

Leading by as much as 18 points, 86-67, in the fourth quarter, Meralco stormed back and eventually came to within one, 94-93, in the final minute as Allein Maliksi led the charge.

On the other end, Mike Digregorio missed a layup, but Richard Escoto was able to grab a big offensive rebound to give the Bossing a crucial possession.

A pair of free throws by Rey Nambatac with 19 seconds remaining gave the Bossing a three-point advantage, 96-93.

Maliksi, who was red-hot in the final quarter, was kept in the left corner and had to shoot over his defender to tie the game.

The attempt went short, and the Bossing dribbled the time out.

In his first game for Blackwater, Nambatac had a double-double with 27 points and a career-high 10 assists. Troy Rosario added 15 points for the Bossing.

James Yap was able to finish with five points in his first contest in a Blackwater jersey.

"Thankful ako and grateful sa mga teammates kasi sobrang laking tiwala nila sa akin. Talagang alam nila kung anong gagawin ko," Nambatac told reporters after the game.

Maliksi had 27 markers off the bench for Meralco. Chris Newsome added 16.

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BASKETBALL

BLACKWATER BOSSING

MERALCO BOLTS

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