Meralco showed up hungrier in the Finals opener of the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup and Brgy. Ginebra paid the hefty price as the Bolts routed the defending champions, 104-91, Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Allein Maliksi torched his former team with 22 points spiked by 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc while Tony Bishop added 20 to go with 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block as Meralco opened the championship round on the right note and moved three wins away from its first PBA title.
“It’s very important to get that first win. If you fall behind, the series becomes much harder to catch up. I thought we really got off to a great start today offensively, and our defense held up very, very well,” said coach Norman Black during the post-game press conference.
“In the second half, Tony Bishop started scoring the basketball, which helped us a great deal. In the first half, I thought the locals carried us for the most part. In the second half, Tony stepped up and made some big shots,” he added.
Cliff Hodge contributed 17 markers for the MVP-owned franchise while Aaron Black and Raymond Almazan chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Justin Brownlee paced the Gin Kings with 27 points while Christian Standhardinger added a double-double of 20 points and 14 boards. Do-it-all guard Scottie Thompson finished with a quiet triple-double of 19 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
The crowd darlings will try to equalize the best-of-seven series at 1-game apiece when the two sides clash anew in Game 2 which is set on Friday, April 8 at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
Meralco 104 – Maliksi 22, Bishop 20, Hodge 17, Black 12, Almazan 10, Newsome 8, Quinto 6, Belo 5, Banchero 2, Jose 2, Canete 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0, Jamito 0.
Brgy. Ginebra 91 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 20, Thompson 19, Tolentino 6, Tenorio 5, Chan 5, Caperal 4, Ayaay 3, Pinto 2, Enriquez 0, Onwubere 0, Mariano 0, Devance 0.
Quarterscores: 25-23, 53-42, 78-60, 104-91.