PBA Philippine Cup

Newsome’s free throw prowess spelling the difference for Meralco in title quest

Delfin Dioquino

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Newsome’s free throw prowess spelling the difference for Meralco in title quest

SHOT. Chris Newsome in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Chris Newsome has been automatic with his free throws as Meralco stares at history after seizing a 3-2 lead against San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup finals

MANILA, Philippines – If you’re San Miguel in this PBA Philippine Cup finals, Meralco star Chris Newsome is perhaps the last player you want at the free throw line.

Newsome has been automatic with his foul shots as the Bolts stare at history after seizing a 3-2 lead against the Beermen in the best-of-seven title series to move on the cusp of their first-ever championship.

Case in point is his steady Game 5 performance, where Newsome calmly knocked down a pair of free throws inside the final 10 seconds to seal the 92-88 win on Friday, June 14.

Overall, Newsome shot a perfect 10-of-10 at the stripe and finished with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal.

Newsome credited former Meralco guard and PBA legend Jimmy Alapag as he enhanced his free throw efficiency since joining the PBA out of Ateneo in 2015.

“Jimmy Alapag was one of those guys that helped me out in understanding that free throws [are] a very crucial part to the game,” said Newsome.

“Ever since I got with Jimmy Alapag my rookie year, I started the routine of shooting 100 free throws every single day. When I first started, I was maybe just a 70% free throw shooter and over the years, I continued to improve and get better at my free throw shooting.”

“You can ask all the guys that the first thing I do when I come to the gym is shoot 100 free throws, and over time, I found myself improving a lot because that is just the basis of every normal shot, just the free throw.”

That extra work has paid dividends for Newsome, who made 41 of his 45 free throws through the first five games of the finals for a stellar 91.1% clip.

Newsome ranks second in the league in free throw percentage this conference with 87.3%, behind Terrafirma ace Juami Tiongson (89.9%).

His prolific free throw shooting has spelled the difference considering every point matters in this finals, with the first five games of the finals decided by a measly 5.2 points.

“I think without those reps, I will not be as confident as I am now but since I’ve shot free throws over and over and over every single day at practice, it becomes second nature,” said Newsome.

“Basically in those moments, whenever the game is on the line or in big moments like that, just rely on muscle memory and my routine and just trust my work.”

Up 3-2 in a best-of-seven series for the first time in franchise history and a win away from PBA supremacy, Newsome and the Bolts go for the kill in Game 6 on Sunday, June 16, at the Araneta Coliseum.

A win on Sunday will see Meralco exorcise the ghost of its past after it fell short of the top prize in its all of its four previous finals appearances.

“Those losses that we had previously, they hurt and they helped to teach a lesson, and hopefully, we respond well to the situation at hand and take advantage of the situation at hand,” said Newsome. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.