Meralco refused to go down 0-2 against a dangerous Brgy. Ginebra side and dealt the crowd darlings a 95-77 beating in Game 2 of their best-of-five semifinal series in the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
A concerted effort by Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi enabled the Bolts to exact revenge on their Game 1 tormentor and equalize the series at 1 game apiece. The duo led a spirited comeback from 13 points down as the Norman Black-mentored squad leaned on their vaunted defense to take control of the match and cruise all the way to the much-needed victory.
“We just talked about that we could not go down 0-2 because we have no chance in coming back into this series. This game was really, really important for us. We found out in Game 1 just exactly what we were up against. Offensively and defensively we made a few adjustments to try to be able to beat this team tonight,” said Black during the post-game press conference.
“Those two guys like I’ve been saying all along are big additions to our team and they’re a big part of our team,” added Black on new additions Maliksi and Raymond Almazan. “We need Allein for us to score to be successful. We need Raymond to have a presence in the middle for us to be successful. They did their jobs tonight but of course, the job is not done yet. We still have to win two more games.”
Newsome paced the Bolts with 16 points while Maliksi and Bong Quinto added 14 apiece. Cliff Hodge contributed 12 while Almazan finished with 11. Both bigs hauled down 11 boards each.
Japeth Aguilar led the Gin Kings with 17 points while LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson chipped in 16 and 10 markers, respectively. Team leading scorer Stanley Pringle was held to 9 points on a miserable 4-of-16 shooting from the field.
Game 3 of the series is set on Sunday, November 22, 6:45pm at the same venue.
Meralco 95 – Newsome 16, Quinto 14, Maliksi 14, Hodge 12, Almazan 11, Amer 10, Hugnatan 9, Pinto 3, Black 2, Caram 2, Jamito 2, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Salva 0.
Brgy. Ginebra 77 – J. Aguilar 17, Tenorio 16, Thompson 10, Tolentino 9, Pringle 9, Caperal 6, Salado 4 Mariano 4, Caguioa 2, Dillinger 0, Dela Cruz 0, Devance 0, Balanza 0.
Quarterscores: 23-27; 42-50; 65-61; 95-77.