Chris Newsome provided anew the much-needed spark for the Meralco Bolts to beat Kiefer Ravena’s 30 point outburst and NLEX Road Warriors’ late rally in the 4th quarter of their bout in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center.
Newsome tallied 18 points, six rebounds, and six dimes to give Meralco its first back-to-back win in the conference, spoiling Ravena’s 30-point effort.
Head coach Norman Black made a note of Newsome’s composed play in the clutch, saying: “We’ve done a couple of things with Chris. Like I told you last time when he was Player of The Game, I just told him, ‘Don’t overthink things. Just enjoy the game, have fun; this is the game that you played when you were a kid. It’s still the same game.'”
“But more importantly, we’ve tried to take some defensive pressure off of Chris Newsome. In other words, we normally assign him to the best offensive player on the other side almost every single night. We’ve tried to take that away and give it to other players so that he can concentrate more on his offense, and his offense has really been flowing. But more importantly than that, you know, we’ve just been making sure that the ball is in his hands in the fourth quarter. And he’s the guy who’s going to deliver for us if we’re going to win basketball games,” he added.
The Black-coached team played as a team. Maliksi chipped in 17 and seven boards, Raymond Almazan contributed 11 points and nine rebounds off the bench, Baser Amer added 11, while Cliff Hodge also threw in 10.
“That’s what we really want. We want to play as a team. We want to share the basketball. I think we went into the game [at] No. 3 in assists, and that’s something that we want to continue to do,” said Black.
“We look at teams like Ginebra and how they play, how they share the basketball, and normally they have a lot of success. We also want to be one of those teams that really played with a lot of teamwork, and we did it again tonight. But I was more impressed with our defense. This is one of the few games this conference where our defense really stood out. And the guys really followed the game plan and executed the game plan,” he added.
Chris Newsome With The Pull-Up Jumper
Leading by as many as 12 in the first half, Meralco failed to sustain their dominant start as the Road Warriors played a back-and-forth battle against them in the third quarter. Despite this, Maliksi ignited his squad late in the third quarter after NLEX momentarily took a 56-54 lead. Scoring six unanswered points, Meralco entered the fourth holding a 73-65 edge.
Scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter, Ravena kept NLEX’s hope to double their victory in the PBA bubble. However, it was the duo of Newsome and Maliksi who eventually gave the Road Warriors its fourth defeat, with the former’s huge turnaround jumper with 2:03 left gave the Bolts a six-point lead and the latter, who buried a triple with 1:20 left on the clock to put the game out of reach essentially.
Anthony Semerad contributed 16 and eight boards, while Kevin Alas wound up with 10 and five dimes for NLEX, who continued to struggle in the PBA bubble and fell to 1-4.
Meralco Vs NLEX Box Score
Quarters: 25-17, 41-39, 73-65, 101-92
Bolts (101) — Newsome 18, Maliksi 17, Amer 11, Almazan 11, Hodge 10, Black 9, Quinto 9, Jamito 7, Hugnatan 6, Jackson 3, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Caram 0.
Road Warriors (92) — Ravena 30, Semerad 16, Alas 10, Cruz 9, Porter 8, Ayonayon 7, Soyud 6, Quinahan 6, Miranda 0, Varilla 0, Ighalo 0.