PBA: Almazan winner to lift Meralco over Ginebra ‘probably the biggest shot of his career’
MANILA, Philippines-Raymond Almazan’s three-pointer that eventually helped Meralco get its first-ever win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in a playoff series may have meant a lot for the veteran center.
“It’s probably the biggest shot of Raymond’s career,” interim coach Luigi Trillo said after the Bolts held on to beat the Gin Kings, 106-104, in the deciding game of their best-of-three quarterfinal series in the PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Meralco saw its 21-point lead in the third quarter disappear when LA Tenorio’s triple put Ginebra ahead by one with 1:12 to go in the fourth, the momentum on the side of the league’s most popular team.
But Almazan showed guts on the next possession, answering back with a rainbow shot at the top of the key that turned to be the last made basket of the evening.
Chris Newsome, who responded from a frustrating Game 2 with 21 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, also had a hand in setting up the play.
Guarded tightly by John Pinto, Newsome also allowed himself to get the attention of Japeth Aguilar at the free throw line, giving Almazan plenty of space.
Almazan can make a decent attempt from beyond the arc and had made four of seven this conference prior to the decider.
Still it was unexpected to see Almazan, who ended up with 11 points and nine rebounds, hit the shot that ended Meralco’s series of misfortunes against Ginebra.
“We practiced that shot and Raymond can hit that shot,” said Trillo. “And it took everybody, New (Newsome) played well, we had Aaron (Black) playing well.
“But it needed a three-point by Raymond to finally get the monkey off our backs,” he added.
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