PBA Philippine Cup

No sweep: Meralco denies San Miguel rare spotless finish, secures quarterfinal berth

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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No sweep: Meralco denies San Miguel rare spotless finish, secures quarterfinal berth

STAR SCRAPPER. Meralco's Cliff Hodge attempts a layup over the San Miguel defense in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

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Cliff Hodge and Allein Maliksi conspire to lift Meralco to an all-important PBA Philippine Cup win over mighty San Miguel, denying the Beermen the first conference sweep in 10 years

 MANILA, Philippines – Meralco played the spoiler’s role.

The Bolts became the first team to take down the San Miguel Beermen after 10 games, 95-92, to secure a quarterfinal berth at the Batangas City Coliseum on Saturday, May 4.

With the win, Meralco advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6-5 card, enough for an assured top 6 finish, avoiding a twice-to-win disadvantage in the playoffs.

Now at 10-1, SMB would have been only the fifth team in PBA history to go undefeated in the eliminations, along with legendary squads Crispa in 1980, San Miguel Beer in 1989, Presto in 1990, and Talk N’ Text in 2014.

San Miguel, though, came close to joining the elite company, zooming to an 18-4 run that erased Meralco’s 16-point cushion in the fourth quarter.

The Bolts, who led by as many as 17 points, then responded with an Allein Maliksi trey and a Cliff Hodge basket to create enough separation before the Beermen went 1-of-4 at the free-throw line in the final two minutes.

Despite their struggles at the charity stripe, the Beermen had a chance to force overtime, but a cold-shooting CJ Perez, who shot 3-of-14 for 8 points, missed a three at the buzzer.

Meralco saw five players contribute double-digits, led by Hodge’s 20 points and Maliksi’s 19 markers.

Chris Newsome also added 17 points, while Bong Quinto and Chris Banchero chipped in 12 and 10, respectively.

June Mar Fajardo carried the cudgels for the Beermen with 23 points on 15-of-19 free-throw shooting, while Jericho Cruz and Don Trollano had 14 markers each.

The Scores

Meralco 95 – Hodge 20, Maliksi 19, Newsome 17, Quinto 12, Banchero 10, Caram 6, Almazan 6, Bates 5, Pascual 0, Dario 0, Pasaol 0, Torres 0.

San Miguel 92 – Fajardo 23, Cruz 14, Trollano 14, Lassiter 9, Perez 8, Romeo 8, Enciso 6, Tautuaa 4, Brondial 4, Manuel 2, Teng 0, Ross 0.

Quarters: 27-20, 52-44, 82-66, 95-92.


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