Maliksi steadies ship as Meralco boots out Alaska for semis berth
MANILA, Philippines – Meralco showed Alaska the door and nailed the first Final Four berth in the 2019 PBA Governors' Cup with a 94-84 victory at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, November 24.
Import Allen Durham flirted with a triple-double, while Allein Maliksi drained key buckets down the stretch as the Bolts reached the semifinals of the season-ending conference for the fourth straight year.
Maliksi played his finest game in a Meralco uniform since his trade from Blackwater, firing 23 points off the bench, including back-to-back shots in the final two minutes that sealed the win for his side.
The Aces were down by only 7 points, 81-88, with 2:07 minutes left before Maliksi sank a layup and hit a putback off a Baser Amer miss for a 92-81 Bolts lead.
Durham had 28 points, 16 rebounds, 8 assists, and 2 steals in the win as he extended his streak of semifinals appearance for Meralco to 4 consecutive seasons.
Chris Newsome put up 17 points and 5 rebounds, while Raymond Almazan churned out 8 point and 3 rebounds before going down with an apparent left calf injury in the middle of the payoff period.
Alaska got buried by as many as 22 points in the first half but managed to make a game out of it behind a 14-point third-quarter assault from Simon Enciso, who put his side within 58-61 with a booming triple.
The Bolts, though, entered the final quarter with a 73-63 advantage thanks to back-to-back Anjo Caram and Maliksi three-pointers before protecting their lead in the last frame courtesy of Durham.
JVee Casio had 20 points to pace the Aces, who failed to replicate their success from last year when they reached the Governors' Cup finals and settled for a silver finish.
Still, it was a commendable campaign for Alaska, considering it dropped its first 5 games before nailing 5 of its last 6 games to barge into the playoffs.
Enciso chalked up 16 points while import Franko House added 11 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists in the loss.
Meralco 94 - Durham 28, Maliksi 23, Newsome 17, Almazan 8, Amer 6, Faundo 4, Caram 4, Quinto 2, Hodge 2, Pinto 0.
Alaska 84 - Casio 20, Enciso 16, House 11, Manuel 9, Tratter 7, Herndon 5, Ayaay 5, Thoss 4, Ahanmisi 4, Racal 3, Galliguez 0, Brondial 0.
Quarters: 29-12, 49-34, 73-63, 94-84.