FAILING to weather Al Zamalek’s third-quarter storm, Meralco conceded a 62-70 setback to the Egyptian club and fell to 0-2 in the Doha International Championship early yesterday (Manila time) at the Al Gharafa Sports Club in Qatar.

The Bolts kept it close in the first half of the Group B showdown and even held a 44-40 lead in the initial minutes of restart. But the it lost control as Al Zamalek went on a game-changing 16-3 barrage in the penultimate period to set the tone for its second straight victory and boost its semis bid.

Meralco, which surrendered an 82-90 defeat to Kuwait’s Al Arabi SC Monday night, seeks its tournament breakthrough against Libya’s Al Ahly (1-1) in the last day of the group stages. Al Ahly bounced back from its opening 65-72 loss to Al Zamalek with an 86-63 rout of Al Arabi (1-1) Tuesday night.

At the forefront of Al Zamalek’s attack against Meralco were Ahmed Azab, who delivered 22 points, four rebounds and three assists, and Ahmed Ismail, who posted a 19-10 double-double.

Messrs. Azab and Ismail conspired for Al Zamalek’s third-quarter breakaway then hit the big shots in the fourth that widened the gap to 12 and kept the Filipino squad no closer than six the rest of the way.

Feron Hunt took the cudgels for Meralco with 18 markers and nine boards but was marred by eight turnovers. Allein Maliksi added 17 spiked by a three-of-four shooting from deep as 7-foot Serbian import Uros Lukovic produced 11 markers, 13 boards and six blocks. — Olmin Leyba

The Scores:

Al Zamalek 70- Azab 22, Ismail 19, Omar 9, A.Yasser 7, Elida 5, Hisham 3, Jawad 3, Y. Yasser 2, Z. Ayman 0, Hegazy 0, M. Ayman 0.

Meralco 62 – Hunt 18, Maliksi 17, Lukovic 11, Pasaol 6, Quinto 5, Banchero 3, Hodge 2, Black 0, Dario 0, Rios 0, Torres 0, Pascual 0.

Quarterscores: 20-19, 37-36, 56-47, 70-62.