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Depleted Meralco fends off late rally to down Blackwater

Niño Canaleta scored 9 of his 25 points in the breakaway third quarter and later the insurance points in the game's waning seconds, as Meralco defeated Blackwater 103-98 in the PBA Philippine Cup at Cuneta Astrodome on Friday.

After Mike DiGregorio's 3-pointer made it 54-50 for Blackwater, Meralco ran off 19 straight points in a span of 4 minutes to go up 69-54 in the third.

Baser Amer (17 points, 12 assists) and Meralco withstood a late comeback attempt by Blackwater to notch its first win of the season. PBA Media Bureau
The Bolts held on to a 95-80 lead with 4:15 left in the game, but it was far from a wrap.

Blackwater countered with a 15-2 run to come within 98-95 with 33 seconds to go.

Canaleta and Allein Maliksi then exchanged 3-pointers, before two free throws by Canaleta secured the win.

"We made some big shots down the stretch . . . but I'd like to give special mention to KG (Canaleta) who was exceptional for us tonight," said Meralco coach Norman Black.

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