MERALCO fought with an unwavering resolve and outlasted Magnolia in a tough overtime battle, eking out a 113-107 win to secure the last berth in the PBA Governors' Cup Final Four Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts charged back from a seven-point deficit in the last three minutes of regulation play, forced the OT on an Aaron Black buzzer-beater and soldiered on to win the match and complete the semis cast, joining Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel Beer and TNT Tropang Giga.
It's Ginebra versus San Miguel and Meralco against TNT in a twin Sister Act semis pairings.
Botched was Magnolia's bid to force a rubber versus Meralco, with Black's heroics late in regulation followed by clutch hits by Chris Newsome, Bong Quinto and KJ McDaniels in the extra play.
Three successive three-pointers from Newsome, Quinto and McDaniels was a telling run that shoved the Bolts ahead to stay at 109-103 with 57 ticks to go.
Newsome scored nine of his 33 points in overtime, including the last of his five three-point bombs that touched off the Bolts' killer assault.
Quinto, meanwhile, proved to be a "magic bunot" for coach Norman Black in OT. The former Letran hotshot nailed his lone basket in the game - a lethal trey - that broke a 103-all deadlock.
Then McDaniels drilled in his own triple, and the Bolts made the separation that eventually sent them to a Final Four showdown with the Tropang Giga.
McDaniels finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds as against Antonio Hester's 21 markers and 19 rebounds.
Also coming through big time were Black and Chris Banchero with 16 points apiece.
It had looked a won ball game for the Hotshots that they thrown away on crucial lapses down the stretch.
The Hotshots were ahead by four at 96-92 and Paul Lee was on the act of shooting from the arc when Mark Barroca was called for an illegal pick.
And that proved to be the start of Magnolia's downfall.
Meralco closed in at 94-96 on a short jumper from Banchero with 44 ticks left. Then from a broken play, Black found a slight opening and made a tough jumper that sent the game into overtime. (SB)
Meralco 113 - Newsome 33, McDaniels 27, Banchero 16, Black 16, Maliksi 9, Almazan 7, Quinto 3, Hodge 2, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Jose 0.
Magnolia 107 - Lee 22, Hester 21, Barroca 18, Abueva 15, Jalalon 9, Dela Rosa 8, Dionisio 6, Wong 4, Escoto 4, Corpuz 0.
Quarters: 22-21, 47-49, 76-78, 96-96, 113-107