PBA Philippine Cup

Heroes aplenty as Meralco clamps San Miguel in PBA finals opener

Martin Mendoza, Delfin Dioquino

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Heroes aplenty as Meralco clamps San Miguel in PBA finals opener
Meralco becomes the first team to hold San Miguel to under 90 points in the PBA Philippine Cup to draw first blood in the best-of-seven finals

MANILA, Philippines – Heroes were aplenty as Meralco put the clamps on San Miguel to draw first blood in the PBA Philippine Cup finals after a gritty 93-86 win at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, June 5.

Chris Banchero, Chris Newsome, Allein Maliksi, and Bong Quinto all scored in double figures and big men Cliff Hodge, Brandon Bates, and Raymond Almazan did the dirty work as the Bolts became the first team this conference to hold the Beermen to under 90 points.

Newsome finished with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals, Banchero churned out 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Maliksi and Quinto fired 15 points apiece.

Hodge hauled down 15 points on top of 7 points, Bates recorded 4 blocks, and Almazan tallied 8 points and 7 rebounds.

June Mar Fajardo paced San Miguel with 23 points and 10 rebounds. 

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Fourth quarter
  • FINAL: Meralco draws first blood with a 93-86 win
  • MERALCO 93-86: Don Trollano for three
  • MERALCO 93-83: Chris Banchero with the tip in, 1:35 minutes left
  • MERALCO 91-83: Raymond Almazan from the top of the key
  • MERALCO 89-83: CJ Perez easy layup
  • MERALCO 89-81: Chris Banchero makes the layup off a Chris Newsome steal
  • MERALCO 87-81: Chris Newsome scores on the fast break
  • MERALCO 85-81: June Mar Fajardo again
  • MERALCO 85-79: Raymond Almazan inside
  • MERALCO 83-79: June Mar Fajardo 2/2 at the line
  • MERALCO 83-77: Chris Banchero layup
  • MERALCO 81-77: Tough layup for Brandon Bates
  • MERALCO 79-77: June Mar Fajardo free throw
  • MERALCO 79-76: CJ Perez foul shot
  • MERALCO 79-75: Bong Quinto with the one-handed flush
  • MERALCO 77-75: Cliff Hodge regains the lead for the Bolts
  • 75-75: Raymond Almazan completes the fast break
  • SAN MIGUEL 75-73: Cliff Hodge free throw
  • SAN MIGUEL 75-72: Marcio Lassiter sinks another triple
  • 72-72: Anjo Caram continues to make his presence felt
Third quarter
  • END OF 3Q: CJ Perez beats the third-quarter buzzer for a 72-70 San Miguel lead
  • 70-70: June Mar Fajardo swishes his freebies for the tie
  • MERALCO 70-68: June Mar Fajardo too good
  • MERALCO 70-66: Allein Maliksi leans and banks it in
  • MERALCO 68-66: CJ Perez makes his free throws
  • MERALCO 68-64: Chris Newsome from Anjo Caram
  • MERALCO 66-64: Allein Maliksi jumper is good
  • 64-64: June Mar Fajardo with the split
  • MERALCO 64-61: Anjo Caram knocks down the wide-open trey
  • SAN MIGUEL 63-61: CJ Perez with another free throw
  • SAN MIGUEL 62-61: CJ Perez 2/2 at the line
  • MERALCO 61-60: Chris Newsome heating up
  • SAN MIGUEL 60-59: Marcio Lassiter dials from long distance
  • MERALCO 59-57: Chris Banchero short stab
  • 57-57: Chris Newsome again
  • SAN MIGUEL 57-55: June Mar Fajardo with the putback
  • 55-55: Chris Newsome for the tie
  • SAN MIGUEL 55-53: Rodney Brondial converts off a Chris Ross assist
  • 53-53: Marcio Lassiter lays it in
  • MERALCO 53-51: Bong Quinto with another trey as the Bolts open the third quarter on a 9-0 run
  • SAN MIGUEL 51-50: Bong Quinto from long range
  • SAN MIGUEL 51-47: Chris Newsome completes and-one to start the second half
Second quarter
  • HALFTIME: San Miguel enters the break with a 51-44 lead
  • SAN MIGUEL 51-44: Marcio Lassiter and-one
  • SAN MIGUEL 48-44: Allein Maliksi makes a three of his own
  • SAN MIGUEL 48-41: Marcio Lassiter for three
  • SAN MIGUEL 45-41: Chris Newsome layup
  • SAN MIGUEL 45-39: Marcio Lassiter drains the jumper
  • SAN MIGUEL 43-39: Allein Maliksi sinks his foul shots
  • SAN MIGUEL 43-37: June Mar Fajardo splits his freebies
  • SAN MIGUEL 42-37: Cliff Hodge with the high looper
  • SAN MIGUEL 42-35: Chris Newsome from deep
  • SAN MIGUEL 42-32: June Mar Fajardo short stab
  • SAN MIGUEL 40-32: Raymond Almazan underneath
  • SAN MIGUEL 40-30: CJ Perez layup is good
  • SAN MIGUEL 38-30: Mo Tautuaa again
  • SAN MIGUEL 36-30: Bong Quinto making a living off his midrange jumpers
  • SAN MIGUEL 36-28: Mo Tautuaa 1/2 with his charity shots
  • SAN MIGUEL 35-28: Jeron Teng with the nifty post move
  • SAN MIGUEL 33-28: Don Trollano 2/2 at the line
  • SAN MIGUEL 31-28: Jericho Cruz answers with his own trey
  • 28-28: Chris Banchero from beyond the arc
  • SAN MIGUEL 28-25: Don Trollano layup
  • SAN MIGUEL 26-25: Anjo Caram again
  • SAN MIGUEL 26-23: Cliff Hodge hook shot
  • SAN MIGUEL 26-21: Mo Tautuaa makes it a 5-point lead for the Beermen
  • SAN MIGUEL 24-21: Jeron Teng retaliates
  • SAN MIGUEL 22-21: Anjo Caram with the layup
  • SAN MIGUEL 22-19: Jericho Cruz converts on the fast break opportunity
First quarter
  • END OF 1Q: San Miguel hangs on to a slim 20-19 lead
  • SAN MIGUEL 20-19: Bong Quinto splits his foul shots
  • SAN MIGUEL 20-18: June Mar Fajardo inside off a Jericho Cruz dime
  • SAN MIGUEL 18-18: Allein Maliksi 2/2 at the line
  • SAN MIGUEL 18-16: Chris Banchero floats it in
  • SAN MIGUEL 18-14: Don Trollano with the strong finish
  • SAN MIGUEL 16-14: Kyle Pascual splits his free throws
  • SAN MIGUEL 16-13: Allein Maliksi scores
  • SAN MIGUEL 16-11: CJ Perez with another trey
  • SAN MIGUEL 13-11: A Brandon Bates block turns into an easy Chris Banchero deuce
  • SAN MIGUEL 13-9: Bong Quinto buries the fadeaway shot
  • SAN MIGUEL 13-7: Allein Maliksi jumper is good
  • SAN MIGUEL 13-5: Rodney Brondial inside
  • SAN MIGUEL 11-5: Chris Banchero for three
  • SAN MIGUEL 11-2: June Mar Fajardo hook shot
  • SAN MIGUEL 9-2: CJ Perez attacks the rim
  • SAN MIGUEL 7-2: June Mar Fajardo sinks his free throws
  • SAN MIGUEL 5-2: CJ Perez lets it fly from deep
  • 2-2: Bong Quinto answers with a jump shot
  • SAN MIGUEL 2-0: June Mar Fajardo scores inside
  • SAN MIGUEL: June Mar Fajardo, CJ Perez, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Rodney Brondial
  • MERALCO: Chris Newsome, Chris Banchero, Cliff Hodge, Raymond Almazan, Bong Quinto

And then there were two.

Coming off contrasting semifinal victories, the San Miguel Beermen and the Meralco Bolts turn their attention to each other as they face off in Game 1 of their best-of-seven PBA Philippine Cup finals series on Wednesday, June 5, at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Beermen completed a four-game sweep of the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters to book a return trip to the Philippine Cup finals, while the Bolts survived Barangay Ginebra in seven games to advance to the All-Filipino finals for the first time in franchise history.

After another dominant showing in the semifinals, all eyes will be on seven-time PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo as he looks to lead the Beermen to their second straight Philippine Cup crown and a sweep of the two Season 48 titles.

In the semifinals, Fajardo imposed his will against the smaller Rain or Shine frontline, averaging a monster double-double of 18.2 points and 13.7 rebounds. 

Aside from Fajardo, CJ Perez will be a marked man in this finals series after the high-flying guard averaged 20.2 points for San Miguel in the final four, including a 26-point explosion in the series-clincher. 

On the other side, expect a total team effort from the Bolts on both defense and offense as they hope to pull off an upset against the powerhouse Beermen.   

Look for big men Raymond Almazan, Cliff Hodge, and rookie Brandon Bates – who was a revelation against Ginebra – to step up to the plate defensively as they try to limit Fajardo’s production.  

The 6-foot-8 Bates is coming off a 13-rebound and 6-block outing in their Game 7 duel against Ginebra last Friday, May 31, holding his own against the Gin Kings’ twin towers of Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar, who combined for a dismal 9-of-28 shooting.

Meanwhile, count on Chris Newsome, Chris Banchero, Bong Quinto, and Allein Maliksi to carry the scoring load for Meralco as they match up against San Miguel’s star-studded backcourt. 

Game time is 7:30 pm. – 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.