Meralco on brink of first PBA title with 3-2 lead over San Miguel
PBA

Meralco on brink of first PBA title after Game 5 win over San Miguel

/ 10:29 PM June 14, 2024

Meralco Bolts' Cliff Hodge, Allein Maliksi and Raymond Almazan during Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beermen

Meralco Bolts’ Cliff Hodge, Allein Maliksi and Raymond Almazan during Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beermen. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

HIGHLIGHTS: PBA Finals Game 5 San Miguel vs Meralco

MANILA, Philippines–Meralco played with renewed zest in the payoff frame and then kept it together in the final moments on Friday night to slip past San Miguel, 92-88, and move to the doorstep of a maiden PBA Philippine Cup championship.

Allein Maliksi led the scoring charge at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City, as Chris Newsome applied the finishing touches in the Game 5 triumph that put the Bolts ahead 3-2 in the best-of-seven championship duel.

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“Both teams are always ready. I don’t think anybody’s gonna have their guard down. Every game has been close, but that last game though, we didn’t do our job. Today was a struggle and it could’ve gone the other way, but we’re now looking at the next game,” head coach Luigi Trillo said in the post-game presser.

READ: PBA Finals: Meralco, San Miguel brace for war with pivotal Game 5 up

“We cannot be too down on ourselves and we cannot be too high on ourselves, and these guys knew that. They were brave today. I have faith in the guys, they are a resilient bunch,” he went on as his crew rebounded from a decisive Game 4 beating last Wednesday.

Maliksi finished with 22 points off the bench, while Newsome delivered just as many–with 18 points coming in the second half of the victory.

Meralco Bolts' Allein Maliksi tries to slip past the defense of San Miguel Beermen's Chris Ross during Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals

Meralco Bolts’ Allein Maliksi tries to slip past the defense of San Miguel Beermen’s Chris Ross during Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

“We just wanted to stay in the moment. Today, I challenged myself. We’ve read articles (about our struggles) so, I told Bong (Quinto), Raymond (Almazan) that we step up,” Maliksi said.

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And that’s what Meralco did. Almazan and Quinto tossed in 14 and 8 points as the Bolts limited San Miguel to yet a sub-90 point performance–a trend that has done wonders for the Bolts this finale.

Fajardo had 38 points that went with 18 rebounds. CJ Perez added 17 but was the only other San Miguel player to chip in a double-digit score.

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Meralco can wrap this series up this Sunday at the same venue.

“We want to win one to gain respect. And that’s what’s on our mind for this Sunday,” said Trillo.

The Scores:

MERALCO 92 – Maliksi 22, Newsome 22, Almazan 14, Banchero 12, Quinto 8, Bates 6, Hodge 6, Caram 2, Rios 0, Torres 0, Pascual 0

SAN MIGUEL 88 – Fajardo 38, Perez 17, Lassiter 6, Romeo 6, Cruz 6, Tautuaa 5, Trollano 5, Ross 3, Manuel 2,

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QUARTERS: 24-25, 47-46, 69-70, 92-88

TAGS: PBA Finals

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