PBA Philippine Cup

‘Unselfish’ Meralco nails maiden win in Philippine Cup

Delfin Dioquino

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‘Unselfish’ Meralco nails maiden win in Philippine Cup

GUNNER. Allein Maliksi in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Meralco banks on a balanced attack of six players scoring in double figures as it overcomes Rain or Shine in overtime

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco standout Bong Quinto wanted to defer his Best Player of the Game honors to teammate Allein Maliksi.

That is the kind of unselfishness the Bolts are trying to foster as Meralco banked on a balanced attack in its 121-117 overtime victory over Rain or Shine in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, March 2.

Six players finished in twin-digit scoring for the Bolts led by Maliksi, who churned out 26 points and 7 rebounds off the bench.

It was Quinto, though, who bagged the Best Player of the Game award on the back of an all-around performance of 16 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.

“Bong said Allein should have been the Best Player. It just goes to show how unselfish he is,” said Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo.

“That is about us. When we have a lot of guys scoring in double figures, most of the time, you see the unselfishness from these guys.”

Maliksi and Quinto joined hands in overtime as they netted 7 points each in the extra period to tow the Bolts to their first win after their comeback fell short against Blackwater in their conference-opener last February 28.

Setting the tone in overtime, Quinto scored the first 7 points for a 109-104 lead before Maliksi finished it off, sinking the free throw that made it a two-possession lead with under 10 ticks left to keep the Elasto Painters at bay.

Chris Newsome put up 16 points and 11 rebounds before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter, Cliff Hodge posted 16 points, 10 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Norbert Torres added 16 points and 9 rebounds in the win.

Anjo Caram gave Meralco an extra scoring punch, scattering 11 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter.

“Newsome fouled out and the other guys stepped up. Next man up,” said Trillo.

Rookie guard Adrian Nocum took over for Rain or Shine with a season-high 29 points as he almost single-handedly towed his side to another extra period with 13 big points in overtime.

Nocum completed an and-one to cut their deficit to 117-120 with 14 seconds remaining, but the Bolts escaped as Maliksi settled the final score with a foul shot.

Leonard Santillan backstopped Nocum with 25 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists, while Gian Mamuyac recorded 15 points.

The Elasto Painters slipped to 0-2 after bungling a prime chance to win it all in regulation, with Andrei Caracut missing a game-winning reverse layup.

The Scores

Meralco 121 – Maliksi 26, Newsome 16, Quinto 16, Torres 16, Hodge 16, Caram 13, Black 6, Pascual 5, Mendoza 4, Rios 2, Pasaol 1, Banchero 0, Jose 0.

Rain or Shine 117 – Nocum 29, Santillan 25, Mamuyac 15, Belga 9, Datu 9, Clarito 9, Caracut 8, Norwood 6, Belo 3, Borboran 2, Demusis 2, Ildefonso 0

Quarters: 28-20, 49-42, 80-77, 102-102 (reg.), 121-117 (OT).

– 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.