Meralco finally ended years of frustration at the hands of Governors’ Cup Finals tormentor Brgy. Ginebra via 106-104 victory in the winner-take-all match of the best-of-three quarterfinals, Sunday night at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Chris Newsome led the charge for the Bolts with a triple-double performance of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists as the MVP-owned franchise won their first series over the Gin Kings after six failed attempts.
“This is something that we’ve been looking forward to, and we’ve been working towards for a long time now. We finally got it,” said Newsome during the post-game presser featuring the winning coach and best player of the game.
“It’s nice to have that monkey off our back, and we can finally move forward and enjoy the win,” he added.
“Just super relieved na we got the monkey off our back,” said acting head coach Luigi Trillo. “We knew they would make a run, and we stuck together.”
Aaron Black came through with 17 points while Cliff Hodge added a double-double of 13 points and 18 rebounds. Allein Maliksi scored 12 while the trio of Bong Quinto, Raymond Almazan and Alvin Pasaol contributed 11 markers apiece.
Reigning league MVP Scottie Thompson paced the 2020 All-Filipino Cup champs with 26 points to go with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in almost 44 minutes of playing time.
Christian Standhardinger had 23 points and 10 boards while Japeth Aguilar finished with 21 markers. Guards Stanley Pringle and LA Tenorio added 12 points each.
The Bolts will take on top-seeded San Miguel in the semifinals with the series opener scheduled on Wednesday, August 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco 106 – Newsome 21, Black 17, Hodge 13, Maliksi 12, Quinto 11, Almazan 11, Pasaol 11, Banchero 4, Jose 4, Pascual 2.
Brgy. Ginebra 104 – Thompson 26, Standhardinger 23, J. Aguilar 21, Pringle 12, Tenorio 12, Pinto 6, Chan 4, Caperal 0, Onwubere 0, Mariano 0.
Quarterscores: 24-18, 55-42, 85-76, 106-104