The Meralco Bolts gave returning coach Norman Black a warm welcome Friday as they struck back at the San Miguel Beermen, 99-88, in Game Two of their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinal showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Blown away in the series opener, 121-97, the Bolts fought back by bringing back their clampdown defense and chopping away 33 points from the Beermen’s big Game One output.
On Sunday, they break their one-game all standoff at 6:30 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
Black was grateful to his coaching staff and to their troops for a job well done while he’s away in the United States attending a death in his family.
The Meralco bench chieftain was also thankful for their effort in his return as they enjoyed a sort of power restoration after a flat outing the last time out.
Cliff Hodge put in 17 points and 14 rebounds, with Aaron Black (15), Allein Maliksi (15), Chris Newsome (14) and Toto Jose (13) contributing double-digit outputs as the Bolts came out strong and recovered after losing a 17-point first-half lead.
Raymond Almazan also had a solid game with 11 rebounds to go with seven markers as he put some fight against June Mar Fajardo’s 22-point, 17-rebound game.