PBA: With dream within reach, Bong Quinto draws from experience

Meralco Bolts guard Bong Quinto in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals.

Meralco Bolts guard Bong Quinto in Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco guard Bong Quinto likened his current situation in the PBA Philippine Cup Finals to his experience at the collegiate level.

On Friday at Araneta Coliseum, the Bolts moved one win away from taking their first PBA championship which has proved elusive since their emergence in the league.

Quinto’s in quite the familiar scenario.

READ: PBA Finals: Meralco needs to ‘play with poise’ to close out San Miguel

Back in 2015, Quinto played collegiate ball for Letran as a second-year shooting guard.

In the Knights’ Finals series with San Beda in that NCAA season, Letran won the first game and immediately smelled blood in the water with the NCAA championship in their sights.

Unfortunately for the Aldin Ayo-led squad, coach Jamike Jarin and the Red Lions unloaded a huge Game 2 effort which forced a deciding game for the Season 91 championship.

“Back in Letran, we were first [to win], 1-0. Then, it became 1-1 which reached a Game 3. That one had an overtime,” recalled Quinto at Araneta Coliseum on Friday after their 92-88 win over San Miguel in Game 5 to take the pivotal 3-2 lead.

Meralco Bolts in Game 5 of the PBA philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel Beermen. -MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.net

Letran eventually won the championship that was already within its grasp but the Knights had to withstand five extra minutes with San Beda in a thrilling 85-82 victory.

Quinto hopes to have the same victorious ending this time and the Bolts have two chances to close out the mighty Beermen with the PBA Finals now a virtual best-of-three series

READ: PBA Finals: History on the side of Meralco Bolts after Game 5 win

But he’s well aware that the PBA Finals is a different beast. A beast that he has hoped to conquer since he was a little kid.

“This is different because this is my dream. Before Letran, this was already my dream since I was a kid, to experience a championship in the PBA, at the same time, it’s also All-Filipino.”

Quinto silently chipped in eight points, three rebounds, two assists and two steals in the win that pushed the Bolts to one win away from the elusive championship.

But while Quinto and the Bolts just need one victory to achieve history, he has certainly learned from his experiences in Letran.

“I don’t want to celebrate yet, honestly. Even if we have an advantage, it’s not over until this series is over. I’ve also been sleepless for how many nights now, from [our series against] Ginebra until now. I’m just so excited that I have an opportunity to play in every game.”

“I’m not wasting this because when you think about it, we just need one more win, right? This has been my dream and the dreams that my family has for me and it might be fulfilled.”

Quinto hopes to bring his dream to full circle on Sunday at the same venue at 6:15 pm.