PBA Philippine Cup

Toughened by heartbreaks, Newsome delivers elusive PBA championship to Meralco

Delfin Dioquino

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Toughened by heartbreaks, Newsome delivers elusive PBA championship to Meralco

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

PBA Images

Chris Newsome steers Meralco to a breakthrough PBA championship in the same way they lost their first crack at the crown as he sinks the game-winner that allowed the Bolts to unseat San Miguel and claim the Philippine Cup throne

MANILA, Philippines – For Chris Newsome, it is funny how things work out.

Newsome steered Meralco to a breakthrough PBA championship in the same way they lost their first crack at the crown as he sank the game-winner that allowed the Bolts to unseat San Miguel and claim the Philippine Cup throne following an 80-78 win in Game 6 at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, June 16.

Shrugging off his shooting woes, Newsome drained a baseline jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining to break a 78-78 deadlock and send a franchise starved of an elusive title to jubilation.

It was a shot that somehow made up for all the heartbreaks Meralco suffered through the years that began when it fell prey to rival Barangay Ginebra, no thanks to a Justin Brownlee game-winning triple in Game 6 of the 2016 Governors’ Cup finals.

The Bolts went on to lose to the Gin Kings in the championship round three more times before finally getting the job done by dethroning the mighty Beermen.

“Pretty interesting how it played out like that,” said Newsome, who finished with 15 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals.

“My first finals actually hurt a lot. It actually showed me a lot on what I can do better and what I need to do better as a player, as a professional,” he added. “Without all those failures, I do not think I’d be the player that I am today.”

Newsome fired blanks before his endgame heroics.

He missed his first seven shots and entered the final minute having made just 3 of his 16 field goals.

It did not help that the momentum swung in favor of San Miguel after June Mar Fajardo capped a blistering 20-9 run by draining an unlikely three-pointer with 3.3 ticks left that knotted the score at 78-78.

But all the pain Newsome endured in the past prepared him for the moment.

“It is a shot that I worked on all the time, I put thousands of reps into that shot. For a lot of guys out there, it might seem like it is just luck, but at the same time, that is something that I work on every day. So to me and the other guys in the locker room, it is no surprise that it went in,” said Newsome.

“The story behind it is just to have courage, to be able to try things and even if you fail, it is okay because you can still learn from it, you can continue to grow, and it’ll make you a better person at the end of the day,” he added.

“I learned from all my failures. I failed against Ginebra plenty of times in the finals and in those failures, that allowed me to push and elevate my game. You saw it pay off today.”

On top of his first title, Newsome also earned the Finals MVP honors as he emerged as the clear-cut winner after averaging 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in six games.

Allein Maliksi backstopped Newsome with 14 points off the bench and Chris Banchero posted a near triple-double of 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists as he won his first championship at last after six finals losses – three of them against San Miguel back when he still played for Alaska.

Bong Quinto added 11 points, Raymond Almazan supplied 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Cliff Hodge chimed in 6 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

“I’m proud the guy stepped up. We went through a lot of adversity, a lot of tough times,” said Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo. “It is very fulfilling for us. It was not like it was easy time all the way. We really had to earn this one.”

Fajardo churned out 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists for the Beermen, as the Best Player of the Conference lost in an All-Filipino finals for the first time since he joined the storied franchise in 2012.

CJ Perez tallied 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Marcio Lassiter and Mo Tautuaa contributed 11 and 9 points, respectively, in the losing effort.

The Scores

Meralco 80 – Newsome 15, Maliksi 14, Quinto 11, Banchero 10, Almazan 9, Caram 6, Torres 6, Hodge 6, Bates 3, Rios 0.

San Miguel 78 – Fajardo 21, Perez 14, Lassiter 11, Tautuaa 10, Romeo 9, Trollano 7, Ross 1, Enciso 0, Teng 0, Cruz 0, Brondial 0

Quarters: 29-18, 47-40, 63-58, 80-78.

– 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.