Meralco received a much-needed boost from its home crowd in a 96-63 triumph over dethroned champion Al Riyadi on Saturday night, advancing the Philippine team to the Fiba Asia Champions Cup quarterfinals for the first time. The Bolts demolished the Lebanon-based squad for only their first win in the competition at Stadium 29 in Nonthaburi, Thailand, as Nino Canaleta and Garvo Lanete led the local support for Diamond Stone and Allen Durham. On the other hand, Meralco finished the Group B preliminary round in a three-way tie with Al Riyadi and Mono Vampire and advanced to the semifinals based on a higher quotient. On Monday, the Bolts will face the top-seeded Petrochimi of Iran in the crossover semifinals, also at Stadium 29. The Bolts struggled in their first two games in the tournament, losing 100-92 to Mono Vampire and 84-73 to Alvark Tokyo. On the other hand, Meralco received some assistance on Friday night when Mono Vampire, headquartered in Thailand, could not earn the second semifinal slot outright after losing 108-100 to Alvark Tokyo. To finish second in Group B, the Bolts needed to defeat Al Riyadi by at least 11 points. For the Bolts, Lanete scored 20 points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, while Stone contributed 20 points and ten rebounds. Canaleta stepped up his game, scoring 18 points and making four of his six three-point attempts. Meralco's performance in the game was flawless, with Anjo Caram scoring 11 points and Durham adding 10 points and 14 rebounds for the Bolts, who dominated Al Riyadi 26-7 in the second quarter. Bassel Bawji scored 19 points for Al Riyadi.
Meralco’s participation in the Fiba Asia Champions Cup has been canceled, and Al Riyadi has taken the place of the Bolts