Meralco moved one win away from advancing to the semifinal round of the PBA Season 47 Philippine Cup and also from disposing of over Governors’ Cup Finals arch nemesis Brgy. Ginebra in the playoffs.
The Bolts started out strong and kept the Gin Kings at bay all-throughout the match to take Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinal series opener, 93-82, Sunday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The backcourt tandem of Aaron Black and Chris Newsome combined for 44 points with the latter also contributing 9 boards and 6 times in 40 minutes of action.
“Everybody knows the history of Meralco and Ginebra, especially the guys who have been here for a long time. It’s been in our heads and that’s something that we want to overcome,” said Newsome during the post-game press conference with the winning coach and best player of the game.
“Just a lot of minds coming in, chipping in. We know we had to get our guys together to discuss that, even Coach Norman [Black],” added interim coach Luigi Trillo. “We know we are going up against a champion team and this is just one game. We need one more game. We know they will come back harder in the second game.”
Black paced the Bolts with 25 points while Newsome and Allen Maliksi chipped in 19 and 17 markers, respectively.
Scottie Thompson was the lone bright spot for the Gin Kings as the reigning league Most Valuable Player came though with a game-high 29 points to go with 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in an almost no-relief job.
Christian Standhardinger, Jeff Chan and Japeth Aguilar dropped 12, 11 and 10 markers, respectively.
Chief playmaker LA Tenorio missed all his 5 attempts was held scoreless in 32 minutes.
The Gin Kings will try to force the series into a deciding match when the two sides clash again on Friday, July 29, 3:00pm at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.
Meralco 93 – Black 25, Newsome 19, Maliksi 17, Hodge 10, Quinto 9, Almazan 5, Banchero 4, Pascual 4, Johnson 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0
Ginebra 82 – Thompson 29, Standhardinger 12, Chan 11, J. Aguilar 10, Pinto 8, Pringle 6, Mariano 5, Onwubere 1, David 0, Tenorio 0
Quarterscores: 32-25, 53-43, 80-62, 93-82