Newsome's free throw work pays off as Bolts move a win away from PBA title

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Newsome's free throw work pays off as Bolts move a win away from PBA title
Chris Newsome (11)
STAR / Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines -- They say practice makes perfect.

And on the cusp of a crucial 3-2 PBA Philippine Cup Finals lead, Chris Newsome proved this.

After leading by 10 points, 90-80, with three minutes to go, the San Miguel Beermen cut the deficit to just two, 88-90, with seven seconds remaining.

It is a moment familiar to the Meralco Bolts, who also collapsed in Game 3 after leading by four in the last 26 seconds.

This time around, Newsome was fouled and sent to the free throw line.
His first free throw rattled around the rim and sank. His second sank as the lead grew to an insurmountable 92-88.

On the other end, Marcio Lassiter missed a 3-pointer as time expired, giving the Bolts their first 3-2 advantage ever.

After the game, Newsome credited his workout free throw routine that he learned from former teammate Jimmy Alapag.

“Free throws, honestly, it’s something that I worked on since I came into the league. Jimmy Alapag was one of those guys that helped me out in understanding that free throws [are] a very crucial part to the game and ever since I got with Jimmy Alapag my rookie year, I started the routine of shooting 100 free throws every single day,” he told reporters.

“That’s something that when I first started, I was maybe just a 70% free throw shooter and over the years, I continued to improve and get better at my free throw shooting specifically,” he added.

And now, years since Alapag donned a basketball jersey, he still continues the tradition.

“You can ask all the guys that the first thing I do when I come to the gym is shoot 100 free throws and you know, over time, I found myself improving a lot because that’s just the basis of every normal shot, just the free throw,” he said.

“And you have the time to get all your mechanics right, get your feet right and that’s something I worked on consciously for a long time and I think without those reps, I will not be as confident as I am now,” he added.

Newsome finished with 22 points after scoring just four in the first half. He made all 10 of his free throws despite struggling from the field with a 5-of-15 clip.

“Since I’ve shot free throws over and over and over every single day at practice, it becomes second nature. And basically on those moments whenever the game’s on the line or on big moments like that, just rely on muscle memory and my routine and just trust my work.”

The guard and the rest of Meralco will try to grab the historic first title in the PBA in Game 6 set on Sunday, 6:15 p.m., at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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