PBA Philippine Cup

Stars in each role: Meralco banks on Quinto, others as top scorers struggle

Delfin Dioquino

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Stars in each role: Meralco banks on Quinto, others as top scorers struggle

DRIVE. Bong Quinto in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup.

PBA Images

Rising to the occasion with both Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome limited on offense, Bong Quinto takes over late as Meralco scrapes past Terrafirma for back-to-back wins

MANILA, Philippines – With top Meralco scorers Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome struggling, the rest of the Bolts played their roles to the hilt.

Bong Quinto took over down the stretch as Meralco posted back-to-back wins in the PBA Philippine Cup after scraping past stubborn Terrafirma, 86-83, at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, April 3.

Rising to the occasion with both Maliksi and Newsome limited to single-digit scoring, Quinto finished the game on a personal 7-2 run and totaled 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists as the Bolts improved to an even 3-3 record.

“We each have our own roles. Whatever our role is in the team, we have to be a star player in it,” said Quinto, who scored in double figures for just the second time this conference – both coming in wins.

The Dyip were poised to continue their promising start and clinch their fourth win in six games when they went up 81-79 with two minutes left before Quinto sank a triple, a free throw, and a layup in succession for an 85-81 lead.

Stephen Holt pulled Terrafirma within 85-83 off a pair of foul shots, but Quinto sealed the victory with another free throw.

Like Quinto, Norbert Torres stepped up with 15 points, while Raymond Almazan – fresh from winning the Big Men Three-Point Shootout during the PBA All-Star Weekend in Bacolod City – chimed in 14 points with 3 rebounds.

Also crucial in the win were the two offensive rebounds All-Star first-timer Cliff Hodge grabbed inside the final minute to highlight his all-around performance of 4 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals.

Their contributions made up for offensive woes of Maliksi and Newsome, who entered the game averaging 18.8 and 17.6 points, respectively.

Newsome scored just 7 points, although he also posted 8 rebounds and 8 assists, while Maliksi put up only 6 points as they shot a combined 5-of-21 (24%) from the field.

“It is important that we won because if we lost this game, we do not know how we’re going to approach our remaining games,” said Quinto.

Juami Tiongson paced the Dyip with a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds on top of 6 assists, while Holt churned out 20 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals.

Despite a pair of solid outings from its top guards, Terrafirma shot itself in the foot with turnovers and poor rebounding late as it fell to 3-3.

The Scores

Meralco 86 – Quinto 18, Torres 15, Almazan 14, Black 7, Mendoza 7, Newsome 7, Banchero 6, Maliksi 6, Hodge 4, Pascual 2, Jose 0, Rios 0.

Terrafirma 83 – Tiongson 20, Holt 20, Gomez de Liano 11, Ramos 11, Sangalang 6, Go 4, Camson 4, Carino 4, Cahilig 3, Mina 0, Calvo 0, Alolino 0.

Quarters: 19-25, 39-46, 63-65, 86-83.

– 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.