PBA Philippine Cup

Meralco topples San Miguel, spoils Fajardo comeback

Delfin Dioquino
Meralco topples San Miguel, spoils Fajardo comeback

HERO. Chris Newsome topscores for Meralco and hits a crucial bucket down the stretch.

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Chris Newsome comes up clutch as Meralco earns its second straight win in as many games to start the PBA Philippine Cup

Meralco spoiled the much-awaited PBA comeback of six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo with a gritty 93-87 win over San Miguel in the Philippine Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Sunday, July 18.

Chris Newsome put up 17 points and drained a clutch three-pointer down the stretch as the Bolts held off the star-studded Beermen for their second straight win in as many games to start the conference.

San Miguel remained within striking distance in the final minute, 83-88, until Newsome – who also finished with 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals – sank a last-second corner triple with 40 seconds left.

CJ Perez, who the Beermen acquired in the offseason, pulled his side within 6 points but Mac Belo sealed the win for Meralco with a pair of foul shots.

Aaron Black churned out 14 points and 4 rebounds off the bench for the Bolts, Reynel Hugnatan had 13 points and 3 rebounds, while John Pinto added 11 points.

“Well you’re always happy to get wins at this point in the season. You do not want to get left behind, because it is going to be a struggle trying to catch up later,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.

“So we’re very, very happy with the fact that we’re starting off 2-0.”

San Miguel got off to a sterling start as it led by as many as 11 points in the opening quarter, 17-6, off a Marcio Lassiter three-pointer.

But the Bolts slowly chiseled away at their deficit and entered the halftime break with a slim 42-41 advantage largely thanks to 11 first-half points from Hugnatan, who continues to play at a high level at 42 years old.

Sidelined for half of the Philippine Cup last season with a shoulder injury, Terrence Romeo topscored for the Beermen with 18 points and 3 rebounds off the bench.

Perez tallied 17 points in his San Miguel debut, Mo Tautuaa chimed in 17 points and 10 rebounds, while Lassiter fired 11 points in the loss.

Playing for the first time since the 2019 Governors’ Cup after sustaining a shin injury, Fajardo had a quiet comeback with 5 points on 2-of-7 shooting to go with 5 rebounds.

The Scores

Meralco 93 – Newsome 17, Black 14, Hugnatan 13, Pinto 11, Quinto 9, Pasaol 7, Belo 7, Maliksi 7, Almazan 4, Hodge 4, Jackson 0.

San Miguel Beer 87 – Romeo 18, Tautuaa 17, Perez 17, Lassiter 11, Santos 8, Fajardo 5, Ross 5, Cabagnot 4, Gotladera 2, Pessumal 0.

Quarters: 18-25, 42-41, 74-59, 93-87.

– 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.