MANILA, Philippines – Meralco avoided a winless season to finish seventh in the Doha International Basketball Championship after taking revenge against Kuwait’s Al Arabi 78-50 on Saturday at the Al Gharafa Arena in Qatar.
Allein Maliksi scored 18 points while Alvin Pasaol had 16 as the Bolts emerged victorious after dropping their three group stage assignments and one match in the classification round of the tournament that served as preparation for both the PBA season and the East Asia Super League.
The Bolts were the only non-Middle Eastern team to participate in the tournament which was won by Beirut Club after beating Sagesse Sports Club 90–62 in an all-Lebanese final.
Victories eluded Meralco in Group B and came at the expense of Al Arabi (90-82) in the first meeting of the two teams, the Egyptian Al Zamalek (70-62) and the Libyan Al Ahly (87-81).
Meralco was defeated 75-56 in the first classification match by the Moroccan Fath Union Sport for fifth to eighth place.
Incoming Commissioner’s Cup import Feron Hunt, who averaged 14.2 points, and Serbian Uros Lukovic strengthened the Bolts throughout the tournament.
But Hunt and Lukovic played 11 minutes together against Al Arabi, while Meralco practically played with an all-Filipino during the lopsided affair.
Chris Banchero added eight points and five assists for Meralco, which played without Chris Newsome due to his stint with Gilas Pilipinas at the Asian Games in Hangzhou.