May 22, 2024

Bolts win low-scoring Game 3, take 2-1 series lead

MERALCO dragged Barangay Ginebra to a low-scoring ball game in their third match in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals and seized the series lead with an 87-80 victory at the Dasmarinas City Arena in Cavite Wednesday night.

The Bolts set the tone of the match early as they held the Kings to 18 points in the first quarter then 16 in the second, and stayed in control through the final half, thus, gaining the 2-1 upper hand in the race-to-four series.

Coach Luigi Trillo's troops were able to clamp down on all the key Ginebra players, including Christian Standhardinger whom they limited to 10 after a career-high 41-point explosion the last time out.

Neither Scottie Thompson nor Stanley Pringle were able to put up big numbers as the Bolts imposed themselves and got to score a follow-up on their 103-91 victory Sunday.

Trillo said they did a good job in taking away some things Ginebra wanted to do.

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But in dealing Ginebra back-to-back defeats, Trillo expected a tougher job in the next games.

"We can't have a letdown. We have to focus, do it not one time but multiple times. Kailangan matapatan namin ang ginagawa nila," said Trillo.

As aligned as they were in their Game Two victory, the Bolts pulled off a dominant win where they enjoyed leads as big as 17.

And in their previous win, Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome stood at the forefront of their bid with the former firing away 16 points, including three treys, and the latter draining 14 points that went with six assists and four rebounds.

Bong Quinto went two-of-two from the arc and finished with 10 points as Chris Banchero, Cliff Hodge and Raymond Almazan contributed at least eight points apiece.

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The Meralco starting unit buckled down to work early and gave the team an early double-digit spread that they were able to protect to the finish.

With a one-day breather before the next game, Trillo said it's about effort if they're to make it three in a row.

"And it's not a simple effort, we have to double our effort," he said. (SB)