Bolts repel Gin Kings for 2-1 PBA semis lead

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Bolts repel Gin Kings for 2-1 PBA semis lead
Meralco's Allein Maliksi
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- The Meralco Bolts survived a scare from a gutsy Barangay Ginebra side as they escaped with an 87-80 victory in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals action at the Dasmarinas Arena in Cavite Wednesday.

Meralco rose to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series with the pivotal win.

Allein Maliksi finished with 16 points for the Bolts. Chris Newsome backstopped with 14 points, six rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block.

With Meralco leading by 17, 83-66, both teams already emptied their respective benches with more than four minutes remaining.

Slowly though the Gin Kings showed their trademark "Never Say Die" attitude with a 14-2 run.

The team climbed out of the hole and cut the lead to single digit, 78-85, thanks to a 3-pointer by LA Tenorio with less than a minute to go.

A layup off Nards Pinto’s own steal made things interesting, making the contest a two-possession game, 80-85, with 25 ticks left.

On the other end, Alvin Pasaol was fouled and missed both free throws. Tenorio had the chance to turn the match to a two-point lead with a trey, but he missed.

A pair of freebies by Jansen Rios iced the game and set the final score.

Bong Quinto provided the necessary spark with 10 markers off the bench. Chris Banchero and Cliff Hodge supplied nine apiece.

Japeth Aguilar led Ginebra with 15 points and nine rebounds. Mav Ahanmisi bolstered the Gin Kings with 13.

Meralco started the game red-hot, going up by 13 points as early as the first quarter.

The Bolts preserved the double-digit advantage mostly throughout the game before the furious rally in the fourth frame.

“Those five minutes, we shouldn’t do that. We were up already… some of the other guys in the game, we were just floating, weren’t communicating, we can’t have that,” Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo said.

“But in the first three quarters at least, it’s a little bit sound. We can still improve on a lot of things. We gave them a couple of offensive rebounds at the start. There were a couple of open looks, but generally throughout the course of the game, we know we have to do that again for the next game,” he added.

The Bolts will try to inch closer to the finals on Friday, 4:30 p.m., at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

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