PBA: Meralco ousts Magnolia, sets up another Ginebra finals showdown
MANILA, Philippines–Taking all the enemy could offer in a no-tomorrow duel that leads to a familiar foe, Meralco rolled past top-seeded Magnolia, 94-81, Friday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Allein Maliksi and Raymond Almazan shot the ball with deadly accuracy to lift the Bolts to another PBA Governors’ Cup title clash with defending conference champion and old tormentor Barangay Ginebra.
“We talked about it—that if we’re making it to the Finals, we have to rely on our defense, and that’s what we did,” said head coach Norman Black.
Maliksi finished with 24 points while Almazan added 18 more built on a perfect shooting clip as Meralco bucked a subpar showing from import Tony Bishop Jr. and the absence of Chris Banchero, who hurt his torso in the game prior.
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Chris Newsome had 17 points while Aaron Black tossed in 16 greasing a pull-away in the final period where the Bolts pounced on Mike Harris’ untimely exit.
Calvin Abueva led the way for the Hotshots with 21 points. Paul Lee and the rest of Magnolia’s seasoned core of Mark Barroca, Ian Sangalang, and Jio Jalalon finished with double figures but sputtered when it mattered most.
“Ginebra’s next and it should be a competitive series,” Black said of the crowd darlings, whom his Bolts will play for a fourth straight time in the last five editions of this tournament.
“They have a couple of days of rest ahead of us, but fortunately, we have more than enough time to prepare and to get rest.”
“(The rematch) should be interesting,” he went on. “I like my chances this time around.”
Meralco 94 – Maliksi 24, Almazan 18, Newsome 17, Black 16, Bishop 8, Caram 4, Quinto 4, Hodge 3, Belo 0, Canete 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0, Jamito 0.
Magnolia 81 – Abueva 21, Lee 13, Barroca 11, Jalalon 11, Sangalang 10, Dela Rosa 6, Harris 5, Wong 2, Reavis 1, Corpuz 1, Brill 0, Ahanmisi 0, De Leon 0, Dionisio 0, Escoto 0.
Quarters: 23-29, 41-46, 62-65, 94-81.
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