PBA: Short-handed Meralco fends off Magnolia


Posted at Oct 08 2021 05:32 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2021 06:48 PM

Meralco gets its first win in the semis. Photo from the PBA website
Meralco gets its first win in the semis. Photo from the PBA website

Meralco fended off a late run by Magnolia to secure its first victory, 91-86, in their best-of-seven semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup. 

Chris Newsome led the Bolts with 17 points, including the dagger shot in the final six seconds, as Meralco improved to 1-2.

Jerome Pinto added 16, while Mac Belo scored 14 as they brought down the Paul Lee-led Hotshots.

Pinto, who brought down nine rebounds to go with two assists, said it was a must-win for the team.

"We're down by two games, so sabi lang ni coach kailangan naming magre-group at saka kailangang buwis-buhay kami sa game namin. Kasi mahirap nga 'pag nag-0-3 kami," he said.

Following a disappointing Game 2, Meralco went all out in the first three quarters for a 21-point lead going into the payoff period.

But Lee orchestrated a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, enabling the Hotshots to catch up, 86-89, with 28 seconds remaining.

But Newsome came off the clutch and drained a basket that stopped the Hotshots on their tracks.

"We displayed a big heart tonight. We struggled a little bit because of lack of manpower. We lost a lot of players this conference. It hurts us a little bit as far as depth is concerned," said Meralco coach Norman Black.

"We looked at this game as a do-or-die game. We just treated it like there's no tomorrow for us."

Lee top-scored Magnolia with 18 points.

The Bolts were without Raymond Almazan who sustained an injury in Game 2. They also missed role players Trevis Jackson and Jammer Jamito due to injury.

The scores :

MERALCO 91 – Newsome 17, Pinto 16, Belo 14, Baclao 10, Maliksi 9, Quinto 8, Caram 8, Hodge 7, Hugnatan 2

MAGNOLIA 86 – Lee 18, Sangalang 15, Abueva 12, Dela Rosa 10, Jalalon 9, Dionisio 8, Ahanmisi 8, Corpuz 2, Barroca 2, Reavis 2, Melton 0

Quarters : 24-14, 47-37, 73-54, 91-86