The Meralco Bolts came alive in the second half and outscored the rank no. 1 team Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings, 95-77, Friday night to tie at 1-1 their PBA Philippine Cup best-of-five semifinal series at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.
Despite being down by eight at the half, Meralco came out more aggressive defensively in the third frame, holding the Tim Cone-head coached Ginebra to just 11 points. Chris Newsome scored nine points to put Meralco in the driver’s seat heading into the fourth, 65-61.
In the fourth frame, the Bolts was up by three, 70-67, when they unleashed a 15-0 run.
Newsome put the finishing touches on the game with a jumper with two and a half minutes remaining, pushing the lead to 21, 91-70.
As six different players scored in double figures for the Norman Black-head coached team and the lead becoming so insurmountable, Cone pulled all his starters out and waved the white flag.
Newsome top-scored Meralco anew with 16 points, four rebounds, and six assists. Bong Quinto, Allein Maliksi, Cliff Hodge, Raymond Almazan, and Baser Amer played exemplary offenses, collectively scoring 61 points.
“We just talked about that we could not go down 0-2 because we have no chance in coming back into this series. This game was really, really important for us. We found out in Game 1 just exactly what we were up against. Offensively and defensively, we made a few adjustments to try to be able to beat this team tonight,” said Black.
“Those two guys (Maliksi and Almazan), like I’ve been saying all along are big additions to our team, and they’re a big part of our team. We need Allein for us to score to be successful. We need Raymond to have a presence in the middle for us to be successful. They did their jobs tonight, but of course, the job is not done yet. We still have to win two more games,” Black added.
Japeth Aguilar led all scorers with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds, while LA Tenorio added 16 points on four treys. Stanley Pringle played subpar in Game 2, who mustered only nine points, including 1-for-7 from downtown.
Meralco vs Ginebra
Quarters: 23-27; 42-50; 65-61; 95-77.
Bolts (95) – Newsome 16, Quinto 14, Maliksi 14, Hodge 12, Almazan 11, Amer 10, Hugnatan 9, Pinto 3, Black 2, Caram 2, Jamito 2, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Salva 0
Gin Kings (77) – Aguilar 17, Tenorio 16, Thompson 10, Tolentino 9, Pringle 9, Caperal 6, Salado 4, Mariano 4 , Caguioa 2, Dela Cruz 0, Dillinger 0, Devance 0, Balanza 0