PBA: Meralco forces rubber match, stuns defending champ SMB
MANILA, Philippines—Meralco forced a do-or-die match after a gutsy 78-71 win over defending champion San Miguel in the PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinals Friday at Angeles University Foundation.
The Bolts clamped down on the Beermen, immediately outscoring the titleholders 21-11 in the first quarter and putting the clamps on them allowing just a paltry 5-of-18 shooting including 1-of-11 from deep.
That early spurt allowed the Bolts to ultimately keep San Miguel at bay and even take a 16-point lead, 33-17, midway through the second en route to the victory.
Veteran big man Reynel Hugnatan put up 16 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bolts while Aaron Black and Baser Amer added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Chris Newsome ran the show for Meralco with 11 points and nine assists.
Moala Tautuaa had 14 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Beermen who were forced to use their twice-to-win advantage.
Game 2 is on Sunday.