CHRIS BANCHERO stepped up with a floater to help Meralco withstand NLEX’s mighty comeback with a 97-94 win on Sunday in Season 48 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Banchero’s return last Sunday from a hamstring injury made a follow up impact against the Road Warriors after his 18 points and four assists performance that resulted in 109-95 win against TNT Tropang Giga.
Although he didn’t match the same scoring output, Banchero though scored the crucial basket with 2.8 seconds left to shatter a 94-all deadlock and followed by Don Trollano’s outside turnover sealing Meralco’s fourth win in five games.
“We just didn’t good play basketball in the second half so we have to be better than that,” Banchero said, who turned emotional after their import Suleiman Braimoh Jr. from a possible left Achilles injury in the fourth quarter.
“It’s really unfortunate, I feel really bad for Su, and I cannot say anything on it,” he added.
Banchero finished with 15 points.
Braimoh, prior to the last four minutes of the game, suddenly fell down on the floor as he tried to attack Sean Anthony’s defense. Meralco coach Luigi Trillo said that their import suffered an apparent Achilles injury.
Braimoh still led the Bolts with 38 points — just two points away from his career high — plus eight rebounds and four assists while Chris Newsome had 14 points and Bong Quinto, who split his free throws in the fading seconds to peg the final score, added 12 points.
“A win is a win but we’re worried with Su. He felt something in his Achilles. Seeing him like that takes away a little bit of the win for us,” Trillo said.
Meralco was staring a 77-48 advantage in the middle of third quarter before NLEX exploded for 32 points in the last quarter highlighted by the combine effort of Trollano and import Stokely Chaffee to tie the count at 94-all.
But the Filipino-Italian had other plan.
Trollano and Chaffee posted 24 points each, but the Road Warriors fell to 2-4 win-loss record.