Jun 14, 2024

Meralco one win away from winning first PBA championship

ALLEIN Maliksi and Chris Newsome generated power for Meralco as the Bolts outdueled San Miguel Beer in Game 5, 92-88, to move on the cusp of a franchise milestone in the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

In his best performance of the series, Maliksi fired 22 points capped by a layup at the 3:25 mark of the fourth that gave the Bolts a 90-80 cushion.

And just when the Beermen threatened with an 8-0 fightback and got to within two, Newsome stepped forward to make it a 92-88 breathing room on two clutch free throws with 6.2 seconds left.

Newsome, who previously had a career-high 40 in Meralco's 101-111 Game 4 loss Wednesday, matched Maliksi's 22-point output to share scoring honors for the victors.

With this victory, the Bolts opened up the opportunity to win their very first PBA title and oust SMB from the throne on Sunday in Game 6 also at the Big Dome.

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Prior to this potential clincher, the Bolts fell short in previous title bids in the Season 41, Season 42, Season 44 and Season 46 Governors Cup finals - all at the hands of Barangay Ginebra.

Raymond Almazan, in a bounceback game from his three-point outing last time, punched in 14 while helping the Meralco frontline gang in defending SMB giant June Mar Fajardo.

Chris Banchero, with 12, joined the Bolts' double-digit scorers.
Fajardo was virtually unstoppable all-game and banged in 38 big points and hauled down 18 rebounds. The tournament's Best Player of the Conference awardee, however, was shut down in the dying seconds.

CJ Perez added 17 but his missed foul throw in the last 7.2 seconds proved costly in the end as Meralco iced it through Newsome's dagger charities. (OL)

The Scores:
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Meralco 92 -Maliksi 22, Newsome 22, Almazan 14, Banchero 12, Quinto 8, Bates 6, Hodge 6, Caram 2, Rios 0, Torres 0, Pascual 0.

San Miguel 88 -Fajardo 38, Perez 17, Lassiter 6, Romeo 6, Cruz 6, Tautuaa 5, Trollano 5, Ross 3, Manuel 2.

Quarterscores: Mer 24-25, 47-46, 69-70, 92-88