PBA: Locals led by Maliksi set tone for Meralco in commanding Finals win
MANILA, Philippines—While Tony Bishop came alive in a critical third quarter in Meralco Game 1 win over Barangay Ginebra in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals, the Bolts drew ample contributions from their locals early that set the tone.
Allein Maliksi spearheaded that charge, firing 15 of his team-high 22 points in the first half, allowing Meralco to take a double-digit cushion en route to the 104-91 victory.
“First half the locals carried us and in the second half Tony stepped up and hit some big shots for us,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black, who also commended his squad’s defensive effort.
Maliksi, a former University of Santo Tomas standout, kept the Gin Kings at bay at the half before Bishop took over in the third by scoring 12 points to douse any attempts of a comeback.
“It was a continuation of Game 5 against Magnolia,” Black said of Maliksi’s performance, referring to the Bolts’ 94-81 win over the Hotshots in the semis decider last Friday.
In that game, Maliksi also led the way in scoring with 24 points to compensate Bishop’s struggles.
“A lot of our offense will go through him (Maliksi),” Black, whose team led by as many as 21 points, said.
So far, Maliksi has delivered.