PBA Commissioner’s Cup

Bong Quinto plays hero in 3OT as Meralco lives to fight another day

Philip Matel

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Bong Quinto plays hero in 3OT as Meralco lives to fight another day

CLUTCH. Bong Quinto in action for the Meralco Bolts in the 2023-24 PBA Commissioner's Cup.

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Bong Quinto takes over in the third overtime period as Meralco outlasts twice-to-beat Phoenix to force a sudden death in the PBA Commissioner's Cup quarterfinals

MANILA, Philippines – Bong Quinto atoned more than enough for two missed free throws down the stretch as he provided the spark to give Meralco an extended stay in the 2023-2024 PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Quinto fired 7 of his 19 points in the third overtime period as the fifth-seeded Bolts hacked out a 116-109 win against fourth-placed Phoenix Fuel Masters in Game 1 of the quarterfinals on Wednesday, January 17, at the PhilSports Arena in Pasig.

“I missed both in overtime… in those situations I need to be able to make those in practice,” said Quinto after the game.

“It was a mixture of luck and blessings that I made crucial shots since what I missed were to give the lead,” he added.

Down by as many as 15 points, 77-62, with 7:30 to play in regulation, the Bolts finished the fourth quarter with a 22-7 run to force the extension.

Meralco effectively used all the last 8.9 seconds of regulation as Chris Newsome, who was off all game, made a series of dribbles, before pulling up and connecting on a buzzer-beating three to knot the game at 84-all.

Despite his 0-of-6 clip, Newsome brimmed with confidence as he was all smiles before deciding to put matters in his own hands to extend the Bolts’ stay in the season-opening conference.

After Phoenix’s Tyler Tio swished a pull-up three to put his side up 95-93 with 37.4 seconds to go, Aaron Black went off the glass to tie the game at 95-all with 23 ticks in the first extra period, as the game went into double overtime.

Quinto also forced the third extension period when he scored a short stab to tie things up at 103-103 with 12.4 seconds remaining.

Phoenix import Johnathan Williams III muffed two potential go-ahead free throws before Black overshot a floater from the baseline.

Aside from Quinto, veteran Allein Maliksi nailed some crucial shots to widen the gap, canning a turnaround jumper to give the Bolts a 111-103 lead with 2:08 minutes remaining.

Quinto stuck the proverbial dagger when he nailed a stepback jumper from rainbow country to define the final margin with 37.4 seconds left, completing the 14th triple overtime game in league’s almost five-decade history.

It was the first triple-overtime game since eighth-seeded NorthPort upset No. 1 NLEX in the 2019 Governors’ Cup quarterfinals.

“We haven’t done anything yet [for Game 2,] it’s just one game, even though we did something, Phoenix is a resilient team, you can see they have many players who play physical,” Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo said.

“There were a lot of heroes in this game, [Newsome] hit that big shot, we had six guys in double figures…whatever it takes,” he added.

“We’ve been in this situation before, I think we have to keep that momentum going.”

Cliff Hodge topscored for Meralco with 20 points and 10 rebounds before he suffered a bad ankle injury in the first overtime.

Black, Maliksi, and import Shonn Miller each submitted 18 points apiece. Newsome had 16 markers.

Williams III, who became just the fourth import in league history to log more than 60 minutes of playing time in a single game, had 24 points, 24 rebounds, and 6 assists.

Sudden death will be on Sunday, January 21, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores

Meralco 116 – Hodge 20, Quinto 19, Miller 18, Black 18, Maliksi 16, Newsome 14, Banchero 5, Almazan 2, Pascual 0, Rios 0, Caram 0.

Phoenix 107 – Williams 24, Perkins 20, Tio 20, Tuffin 16, Jazul 13, Alejandro 6, Mocon 6, Manganti 2, Muyang 0, Soyud 0, Garcia 0, Rivero 0.

Quarters: 13-21, 39-47, 53-62, 84-84, 95-95, 103-103, 116-107.

– Rappler.com

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