PBA Commissioner’s Cup

No upset as Meralco survives Terrafirma challenge to stay in hunt for playoff bonus

Delfin Dioquino

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No upset as Meralco survives Terrafirma challenge to stay in hunt for playoff bonus

REBOUND. Shonn Miller in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Meralco earns a crack at a twice-to-beat advantage in the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals, although it needs Barangay Ginebra to lose its final elimination-round assignment

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco avoided the upset ax and turned back Terrafirma, 109-102, to stay in the hunt for a playoff bonus in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Friday, January 12.

Bong Quinto played his best game of the tournament to complement import Shonn Miller as the Bolts ended the elimination round with an 8-3 record to earn a crack at a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.

Quinto fired a season-high 20 points on top of 9 assists and 5 rebounds, while Miller supplied 29 points, 21 rebounds, and 3 steals, including a bunch of timely buckets down the stretch that allowed Meralco to erase a slim deficit.

The Dyip grabbed 97-94 lead off a triple from rookie Stephen Holt with under eight minutes left before Miller converted back-to-back baskets that gave the Bolts the upper hand.

Miller then scored the last 4 points of a 10-2 blitz that followed a 98-98 deadlock as Meralco stayed in the mix for the last win-once edge.

The Bolts, though, no longer have control over their chances of clinching the playoff incentive as they need Barangay Ginebra (7-3) to lose its final assignment against NLEX in Albay on Saturday.

Cliff Hodge also came up clutch by scattering 9 of 11 points in the fourth quarter to go with 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 3 steals, while Allein Maliksi (15), Chris Newsome (11), and Chris Banchero (10) also scored in twin digits.

Before Miller and Hodge took over late, Quinto carried the scoring cudgels for Meralco as he eclipsed his previous season-high of 13 points in the first half alone, netting 17 points by halftime.

Holt, the top pick in the previous draft, turned in the finest performance of his PBA career with 26 points on a 5-of-9 clip from long range on top of 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

But Terrafirma failed to capitalize and wrapped up its campaign on an eight-game losing streak for a 2-9 record.

Juami Tiongson had 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in the defeat, while Javi Gomez de Liaño added 15 points.

The Scores

Meralco 109 – Miller 29, Quinto 20, Maliksi 15, Newsome 11, Hodge 11, Banchero 10, Black 7, Almazan 4, Bates 2, Rios 0, Caram 0, Pascual 0.

Terrafirma 102 – Holt 26, Tiongson 21, Gomez de Liano 15, De Thaey 7, Alolino 7, Sangalang 5, Calvo 5, Ramos 5, Go 3, Olivario 2, Cahilig 2, Mina 2, Camson 2, Miller 0.

Quarters: 30-31, 59-54, 85-87, 109-102.

– 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.