The perfect storm hits as Meralco crush Al-Riyadi for last Semifinals spot
NONTHABURI (FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018) — Already with two losses to their name, the Meralco Bolts' chances of getting to the Semifinals were looking slim heading into their game against Al-Riyadi.
Not only did they need to beat the defending champions, they need to win by a margin of more than 11 points to claim the three-way tiebreaker.
The Bolts did that and much, much more by blowing out Al-Riyadi, 96-63.
The results of this game guarantees that there will be a new crowned chamion at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
It was an evenly matched contest in the first ten minutes of the game and Al-Riyadi even held a 26-23 lead at the buzzer. Al-Riyadi would not score again for the next three minutes, leaving the Meralco Bolts to blast off on the game-changing 15-0 run. Rommel Nino “KG” Canaleta dropped back-to-back threes during the burst was the momentum swinging instance that started the Bolt’s surge.
There was nothing more Al-Riyadi could do from that point forward and the lead continued to balloon further out of reach up to as much as 34 points until the final outcome.
Coach Norman Black couldn’t be more pleased as his team rebounded for a well-rounded effort from all over his rotation. Aforementioned Canatela put up a total of 18 points in a vintage performance from the famed high-leaper, joined by a breakout performance Garvo Lanete (20 points) and solid production from Anjo Caram (11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists). Meralco’s foreign players put up their usual double-double performances.
The Bolts were just unstoppable from downtown, making 10 three-pointers on 45.5% shooting. Everyone was aggressive to attack the basket which resulted in 23 freethrow attempts, resulting in 16 points for the Filipino club.
It was a completely different story on the other side for Al-Riyadi who were held to 19.4% from downtown on 31 attempts while only get to the line for 7 freethrows.
The Meralco Bolts finish the Group phase with a 1-2 record in Group B tied with Mono Vampire and Al-Riyadi but hold the three-way tiebreaker, placing them at second place of the group. They will be advancing to the Semifinals round to face Petrochimi, the top team of Group A.
Al-Riyadi falls to 4th place of Group B and are eliminated from contention as champions of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. They will face Pauian Archiland in the first round of classification.