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Meralco blows big lead, but still escapes NLEX

Chris Banchero Meralco Bolts PBA

Chris Banchero saved the day for Meralco as they survived NLEX, 97-94, despite squandering a huge double-digit lead in the 2023 PBA Commissioner's Cup on Sunday at the PhilSports Arena.

The veteran guard sank the floater that proved to be the dagger as the Bolts recovered despite wasting a lead of as high as 29 points back in the third quarter to retake the advantage, 96-94, with 2.8 seconds left to go in the fourth.

Don Trollano, whose triple knotted the game at 94-all in the 22 second-mark of the payoff period, then committed a crucial turnover as he stepped out of bounds that returned the possession back to the Bolts. 

Bong Quinto then split his charities to seal it for Meralco as Kris Rosales could not complete the Hail Mary three-pointer from the halfcourt mark.

Meralco import Suleiman Braimoh led the way for the Bolts with 38 points, eight rebounds, for assists, and one steal while Banchero finished with 15 markers off the bench alongside three boards, and two dimes as they improved to 4-1. 

The Road Warriors slipped to their second consecutive loss to go 2-4.

Stokley Chaffee paced NLEX with 24 points, eight rebounds, and one assist while Trollano tallied 24markers as well to go with four boards, and six assists in their failed comeback attempt. 

—JMB, GMA Integrated News