MANILA – Luigi Trillo was a winner in his head coaching comeback after lifting Meralco to a 77-73 win against Rain or Shine (ROS) in their PBA Philippine Cup clash on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
In his first head coaching gig in eight years, Trillo, who is handling the Bolts on an interim basis with Head Coach Norman Black taking a leave of absence to attend to his ailing mom, took charge in leading them to a tight win against the Elasto Painters, who still gave the Bolts a late scare.
Meralco was up, 69-60, with four and a half minutes left, but ROS slowly crawled back and came to within three, 70-73, with 1:02 to play.
Aaron Black looked to have scored the dagger for the Bolts after scoring on a clutch three-pointer with 39 seconds left to up the lead back to six, but Mark Borboran made three free throws with 12.3 seconds remaining to cut the lead anew to three.
The Elasto Painters even came close to forcing a turnover that could have given them a chance to force overtime, but Bong Quinto recovered the ball after the scramble and made a split from the line with 4.6 seconds to play to seal the Bolts' win.
Black led Meralco, which moved up to 4-3 in the standings, with 20 points, four rebounds, and six assists, while Allein Maliksi added 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, and one steal.
Raymond Almazan put up a double-double of 10 points and 15 rebounds with two assists and four blocks, but he left the game with an apparent leg injury after a loose ball scramble with Mike Nieto late in the game.
Gabe Norwood put up 13 markers, nine boards, and three dimes off the bench for ROS, which fell to 1-6. (PNA)