Bolts send Kings to KO duel

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star
Bolts send Kings to KO duel
Meralco’s Raymond Almazan controls the rebound in a play versus Ginebra’s Scottie Thompson early in Game Six of the Kings-Bolts semifinal face-off.

MANILA, Philippines —  Just like old times, Barangay Ginebra and Meralco are settling the score in a Game 7.

Their lives on the line, the Bolts put up a herculean effort to force the Gin Kings to a 3-3 stalemate in the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup semifinals via a massive 86-81 Game 6 win last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

From teetering on the brink, the Bolts pumped life back into their bid with a fresh opportunity to reach the finale against holder San Miguel Beer in tomorrow’s semifinal sudden death in San Jose, Batangas.

The Kings and the Bolts engage in a you-or-me dispute for the first time since their record-breaking marathon duel for the Season 42 Governors’ Cup crown. Ginebra won that 2017 decider in front of a then all-time high 54,086 crowd at the Philippine Arena, 101-96, to retain the title.

Playing with strong purpose in must-win Game 6, the Bolts raced to a 17-6 start and kept the Gin Kings on the backfoot majority of the way.

The crowd darlings repeatedly rallied – and even surged ahead at some point - but the charges of coach Luigi Trillo countered each time, wrested control and held tough until the final buzzer.

In his best offensive game of the conference, Bong Quinto rifled in 23 highlighted by a 10-point sizzler in a telling 15-7 fourth-quarter assault that lifted Meralco to a 71-64 cushion.

Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi fired 21 and 14, respectively.

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