Meralco 110, NLEX 100 (Courtesy of PBA)

MANILA – Meralco remained undefeated in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governors' Cup after a 110-100 win over NLEX at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Friday.

In the league's first game back after more than a month of layoff due to quarantine restrictions, the Bolts moved up to 3-0 in the standings after their strong start turned out enough to keep the Road Warriors at bay.

Meralco sizzled quickly in the first quarter, dropping 33 points and holding NLEX to just 18.

"We located a formula that we can use to win. It really starts with defense, the fact that we go out and slow teams down and get them out of their offense, and once we control the defensive boards, it gets us a chance to go out and run," coach Norman Black said in the post-match interview.

The Road Warriors began getting their groove offensively with import KJ McDaniels at the helm, but counterpart Tony Bishop and the rest of the Bolts sustained their offensive game to remain on top at halftime, 62-45.

NLEX tried to come back in the second half, coming to as close as eight, 100-108, with 37 seconds remaining, but could not steal the win from Meralco.

Bishop finished with 32 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists, one steal, and one block for Meralco, which momentarily tied Magnolia on top.

The Hotshots will take on the TNT Tropang Giga later Friday for the solo lead.

Chris Newsome added 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Allein Maliksi had a conference-high of 17 points for Meralco.

Cliff Hodge had a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards.

McDaniels made 41 points and hauled down 12 rebounds for NLEX, which dropped to its second straight loss after a 4-0 start.

In his PBA debut, Matt Nieto put up 10 points off the bench, mostly during NLEX's late rally.

The scores:

Meralco 110 – Bishop 32, Newsome 18, Maliksi 17, Black 19, Hodge 11, Quinto 6, Caram 4, Almazan 3, Belo 0, Pasaol 0

NLEX 100 – McDaniels 41, Alas 16, Nieto 10, Oftana 10, Cruz 6, Semerad 6, Ighalo 5, Quinahan 2, Varilla 2, Trollano 2, Rosales 0, Soyud 0, Magat 0

Quarters: 33-18; 62-45; 88-74; 110-100 (PNA)