PBA Philippine Cup

Hot-shooting Meralco jolts San Miguel to level semis series at 2-2

Delfin Dioquino
Hot-shooting Meralco jolts San Miguel to level semis series at 2-2

BALANCED SCORING. Cliff Hodge and four more Meralco players score in double figures in their rout of San Miguel.

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Meralco shoots the lights out, firing a scintillating 56% from the field in its 14-point win over San Miguel in Game 4

MANILA, Philippines – Meralco paired its stifling defense with some stellar shooting to pummel San Miguel, 111-97, and draw level in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, August 8.

The Bolts fired a scintillating 56% from the field, including an impressive 50% clip from long distance, as they convincingly won Game 4 and knotted the best-of-seven affair at 2-2.

In the first three games, Meralco never shot above 45% from the field and 36% from three-point land.

Aaron Black led the way for the Bolts with all-around numbers of 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists as he, Raymond Almazan, and Allein Maliksi sparked their second-half breakaway that saw them lead by as many as 22 points.

Buried by as deep as 17 points in the opening quarter, the Beermen got back into the game behind the 20 first-half points of Marcio Lassiter and entered the break within shouting distance, 53-58.

The trio of Black, Almazan, and Maliksi, though, connived for a 20-6 run to start the third quarter as the Meralco lead swelled to 19 points, 78-59, on the way to the equalizer.

“We made some adjustments on how to attack their defense, because their defense has been pretty good so far in the series. And it worked out for us,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black.

Maliksi netted 19 points on a 4-of-7 clip from long range, Almazan had 17 points – 12 coming in the third period – and 6 rebounds, while Cliff Hodge chimed in 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

Meralco also got a big fourth-quarter lift from Bong Quinto, who scored 9 of his 11 points in the period on top of his 5 assists.

Though limited to single digits in scoring for the first time since Game 1, Chris Newsome still made his presence felt for the Bolts with 8 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.

Waxing hot with 18 points in the second quarter alone, Lassiter struggled to find his footing in the last two quarters and finished with 23 points.

June Mar Fajardo posted 21 points and 13 rebounds, while CJ Perez put up 24 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals in the loss.

The Score

Meralco 111 – Black 21, Maliksi 19, Hodge 18, Almazan 17, Quinto 11, Newsome 8, Baclao 4, Belo 4, Hugnatan 3, Banchero 2, Pascual 2, Jose 2, Pasaol 0, Caram 0, Johnson 0.

San Miguel 97 – Perez 24, Lassiter 23, Fajardo 21, Brondial 9, Manuel 9, Canete 4, Zamar 3, Cruz 2, Tautuaa 1, Pessumal 1, Ross 0, Enciso 0, Herndon 0.

Quarters: 36-23, 58-53, 88-71, 111-97.

– 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.