PBA: Meralco clinches playoff berth, nips top seed San Miguel
MANILA, Philippines–Meralco hit two birds with one stone on Sunday night with an 89-86 clipping of mighty San Miguel Beer in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The Bolts returned to the win column and then secured a playoff spot on the end-game shooting of Allein Maliksi and Aaron Black who combined for the club’s final 10 points to dispose of the Beermen.
“We have guys whom we believe in. And looking at the quality of shots, the shots are good. As long as we’re doing the right things on offense, we’re in the proper spots and the decision-making is good, it will fall for Allein,” said Luigi Trillo, who continued to fill in for head coach Norman Black.
“But also credit to the guys setting him up. We look at Allein, but Chris Newsome set him up, Aaron Black set him up. Cliff (Hodge) had tons of screens as well as from Raymond (Almazan). Again, a collective effort from the team, but it was really nice to see Allein hit those big shots,” he went on.
Maliksi finished with 18 points, Newsome added 16 while Black put up an all-around effort of 15 points seven rebounds, and five assists in the game that the Bolts organization dedicated to the passing of coach Norman’s mother Bessie.
“We’re all playing for coach. He means a lot to our organization,” said Trillo. “This is a good win for him.”
June Mar Fajardo had 21 points while four others finished with at least 11 points as the Beermen bungled a chance to end their elimination round on a winning note, and slipped to 9-2.
San Miguel continued to reel from the league’s health and safety protocols, as Ato Agustin and Boycie Zamar were left to call the shots for the club. They are, however, heading to the next round already with the twice-to-beat protection in the bag.
MERALCO 89 – Maliksi 18, Newsome 16, Black 15, Hodge 9, Almazan 8, Banchero 7, Jose 6, Quinto 4, Hugnatan 4, Pascual 2, Baclao 0.
SAN MIGUEL 86 – Fajardo 21, Perez 14, Lassiter 12, Manuel 12, Enciso 11, Tautuaa 9, Pessumal 5, Zamar 2, Canete 0, Faundo 0.
QUARTERS: 19-26, 40-37, 70-67, 89-86
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