MANILA, Philippines – Tony Bishop and Allein Maliksi took turns to power Meralco to a 104-91 rout of Barangay Ginebra in Game 1 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, April 6.
Maliksi carried the scoring load in the first half, while Bishop ignited their third-quarter breakaway as the Bolts remained unbeaten against the Gin Kings this season to draw first blood in the best-of-seven affair.
Limited to a measly 6 points in the first two quarters, Bishop caught fire and scattered 12 of his 20 total markers in the third period to help Meralco build a sizable 78-60 advantage going into the final quarter.
The Bolts’ lead swelled to as big as 21 points in the fourth period, 85-64, off a Bong Quinto three-pointer and Ginebra never threatened a comeback.
“It is very important to get that first win. If you fall behind, the series becomes that much harder to catch up,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.
But before Bishop found his groove, it was all Maliksi for the Bolts early, with the sweet-shooting guard sizzling for 15 of his team-high 22 points in the first half.
Coming off the bench in the second quarter, Maliksi delivered 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 clip in the last six minutes of the period as Meralco enjoyed a 53-42 halftime lead.
The Gin Kings kept pace up until the middle of the third quarter after a Justin Brownlee triple pulled them within 5 points, 60-65, but Bishop stole the spotlight and anchored a 13-0 run to close the canto.
Bishop also churned out 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Cliff Hodge came off the bench and produced 17 points, with 9 coming in the last salvo.
Debuting in a PBA finals, Bolts sophomore Aaron Black made his presence felt with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists, including the opening basket.
Brownlee finished with a team-high 27 points but struggled from the field – making only 7 of his 20 shots for a 35% clip – as Ginebra let down the majority of the 12,457 fans who trooped to the Araneta Coliseum expecting a win.
Scottie Thompson saw his triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists go for naught in the losing effort, while Christian Standhardinger tallied a double-double of 20 points and 14 rebounds.
Meralco 104 – Maliksi 22, Bishop 20, Hodge 17, Black 12, Almazan 10, Newsome 8, Quinto 6, Belo 5, Banchero 2, Jose 2, Canete 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0, Jamito 0.
Barangay Ginebra 91 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 20, Thompson 19, Tolentino 6, Tenorio 5, Chan 5, Caperal 4, Ayaay 3, Pinto 2, Enriquez 0, Onwubere 0, Mariano 0, Devance 0.
Quarters: 25-23, 53-42, 78-60, 104-91.