Bolts force Game 7 vs Gin Kings

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Bolts force Game 7 vs Gin Kings
Allein Maliksi (22)
PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines -- Off to a Game 7 we go.

The Meralco Bolts held on and forced a do-or-die Game 7 against the gritty Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 86-81, in their PBA Philippine Cup action Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ginebra cut an eight-point deficit to a one-possession lead late, but the run came just a bit too late.

Bong Quinto and Chris Newsome provided a one-two scoring punch, finishing with 23 and 21 points, respectively.

After an Allein Maliksi layup gave the Bolts an eight-point lead, 82-74, with 2:11 remaining, the two teams went on a scoring drought.

A free throw and a 3-pointer by Mav Ahanmisi with 13 seconds left kept the Gin Kings in it, 78-82.

A pair of freebies by Newsome pushed the lead back to six, but a booming 3-pointer by Stanley Pringle cut the lead to three, 81-84, with six ticks to go.

Two free throws by Newsome iced the game and set the final score as Scottie Thompson’s heave from way beyond missed.

“Ang mindset ko lang, bigay na namin lahat kasi kung matalo kami, wala na kaming viewing bukas. So ako, iyon ang ginawa ko, bahala na. Basta, bibigay ko lahat ng makakaya ko para makatulong ako sa team,” Quinto told reporters after the game.

“Alam ko naman na makakatulong ako sa team and nag-prepare talaga ako para rito.”

With Ginebra leading by one, 57-56, early on in the fourth canto after a split from the line by Scottie Thompson, Quinto and Maliksi erupted for eight straight points capped by the latter’s 3-pointer to go up by seven, 64-57.

This was a lead that they did not yield, as Ginebra played catch-up the rest of the way.

Maliksi also took over in the fourth quarter as he finished with 14 points in the second half, 12 in the final quarter, to help the Bolts keep the Gin Kings at bay down the stretch. Cliff Hodge added 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal.

Chris Banchero had a near triple-double with nine markers, nine boards and eight dimes.

The twin towers of Japeth Aguilar and Christian Standhardinger led Ginebra with 19 apiece. Ahanmisi added 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench.

Game 7 will be at the FPJ Arena in Batangas on Friday, May 31.

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