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Allein Maliksi’s heroics help Blackwater disarm Meralco’s twice-to-beat edge



Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Allein Maliksi's heroics help Blackwater disarm Meralco's twice-to-beat edge Basketball News PBA  PBA Season 42 Norman Black Mike DiGregorio Meralco Bolts Leo Isaac Henry Walker Cliff Hodge Chris Newsome Blackwater Elite Allen Durham Allein Maliksi 2017 PBA Governors Cup

Even a sour shooting night would not stop Allein Maliksi from stepping up, as his go-ahead bucket with 9.5 ticks left helped the Blackwater Elite ruin the Meralco Bolts’ twice-to-beat edge, 92-91, in the opening salvo of the 2017 Governor’s Cup quarterfinals, Tuesday night.

This marks Blackwater’s first playoff win in franchise history.

“Instructions were to get a good shot before the buzzer sounds. If there’s any opening, just take it,” said Elite head coach Leo Isaac of the winning sequence. “We wanted the ball to get to Henry Walker, but there was Allein Maliksi.”

Walker was superb once more for Blackwater with 30 points and 18 rebounds. But the night belonged to Maliksi, who, prior to scoring his team’s last four points, was just 4-of-13 from the floor. He finished with 15 markers.

With the game tied at 86 with 1:27 remaining in the game, Baser Amer knocked down a cold-blooded three-pointer from the left corner off a Cliff Hodge feed to propel the Bolts, 89-86, with 1:10 to go.

Roi Sumang starred on the other end. He made both his freebies off a Jared Dillinger flagrant foul; stole the ball away from Allen Durham; and dished a key assist to Maliksi to send the Elite up, 90-89, with 33.6 seconds left.

But Durham made up for his turnover and missed freebies moments later, through a put-back off a Hodge miss, 91-90, with 15.8 seconds left, but that proved to be the Orangemen’s last gasp in the game.

Walker dished the ball to Maliksi off the curl, and the six-foot-three gunslinger converted the mid-range jumper to spell his magic. The Bolts tried one last push, but Mike Tolomia’s one-hander missed badly, sealing the win for the Elite.

“What confidence did Walker had on his teammates,” added Isaac. “But all is not finished here. We still have a game on Thursday, and we’re sure Meralco will prepare. Hopefully we’ll have enough firepower on Thursday.”

Mike Di Gregorio added 20 markers for the Elite.

Chris Newsome paced the Bolts with 19 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Durham scattered 18 markers and 21 boards, while Cliff Hodge scored 18 as well alongside eight caroms. Jared Dillinger supplied 12.

Blackwater will look to finish the Bolts and leap to their first semifinals appearance in franchise history on Thursday, September 28, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:

Blackwater 92 – Walker 30, Digregorio 20, Maliksi 15, Sumang 9, Erram 7, Sena 4, Marcelo 4, Canaleta 3, Belo 0, Pinto 0, Cruz 0.

Meralco 91 – Newsome 19, Durham 18, Hodge 18, Dillinger 12, Tolomia 11, Amer 8, Hugnatan 5, Lanete 0, Caram 0, De Ocampo 0.

Quarterscores: 24-17, 42-40, 63-62, 92-91.