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Bolts keep streak alive

I told my players that if we’re going to win this game, it’s going to be because of our defense.

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RAYMUND Almazan grabs a career-high 24 rebounds to lift Meralco. 

Meralco kept its hot streak alive as it took down Columbian Dyip, 92-74, in the Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Import Allen Durham led the way while Raymund Almazan crashed the boards with authority for the Bolts, who extended their winning streak to four to improve to a 7-2 win-loss record.

Durham registered 34 points, 14 rebounds and five assists while Almazan grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds on top of 18 points and two blocks for Meralco, which also got a lift from Chris Newsome.

Meralco head coach Norman Black said it was their defense that carried them to this win.

“I told my players that if we’re going to win this game, it’s going to be because of our defense,” Black said. “And I felt that way because we’re missing out the best outside shooter tonight in Baser Amer, who has a groin injury.”

With Durham and Almazan patrolling the paint, the Bolts limited the Dyip to only 74 points while allowing 29 percent shooting from the field and 22 percent from the three-point line.

“Our defense was pretty solid. Our two big men, Allen and Raymund, dominated the game. Durham did a good job on scoring while Almazan did a good job of controlling the rebounds.”

Import Khapri Alston finished with 19 points, 16 rebounds and three steals while CJ Perez notched 21 points, six rebounds and three assists on top of three steals for the Dyip, who fell to 4-6.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Beer is set to roll out the red carpet for its new import when it clashes with Rain or Shine at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City Saturday.

The Beermen will formally parade John Holland when they tangle with the Elasto Painters at 5 p.m.

Holland, a seasoned journeyman who played in France, Spain, Turkey and the United States, will replace the explosive Dez Wells, who was placed on the injured list after suffering an ankle injury.

The Beermen are currently at the fourth spot of the team standings with a 6-3 win-loss mark, just a couple of games behind corporate rivals NLEX, TNT KaTropa and Meralco entering the crucial stage of the eliminations.

They suffered back-to-back setbacks, but quickly recovered following a heart-stopping 99-96 win over Blackwater last Wednesday.

In that game, Wells was not around, but it didn’t matter as June Mar Fajardo erupted for 30 points and 13 rebounds while Arwind Santos, Chris Ross and Alex Cabagnot all came up with an impressive performance to put their grand slam campaign on the right track.

On the other hand, Rain or Shine is looking to snap its two-game skid and keep its playoff hopes alive.

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