Chris Newsome hit the most important shot for Meralco on Tuesday evening, helping the Bolts get away with the 109-104 overtime victory over Magnolia in 2020 PBA Philippine Cup action.
The 6-foot-4 guard sank a tough baseline jumper with 9.5 ticks left to play that widened their lead to three — a shot that atoned for the one he missed late in regulation that could’ve won it for the Orangemen.
“I just tried to focus on staying present and dealing with the situation at hand, not really thinking about what happened before,” said Newsome, who had 23 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, in the walk-off interview.
The five-year pro was the savior of the Bolts in the endgame. But despite the big shot, Newsome isn’t taking all the credit to himself. Instead, he tipped his hat to the whole team — particularly to the young guns.
Sophomore point guard Trevis Jackson and do-it-all rookie Aaron Black both contributed to the victory that hiked their card to 2-2. The two provided the spark in Meralco’s furious fourth quarter rally.
The Bolts were staring at a 10-point deficit barely a minute into the same period. Black then chipped in five markers in a 12-2 scoring spree that tied the game up at 79-all with 7:08 remaining.
The Hotshots managed to regain the upper hand, but Jackson took it back for his side. He buried back-to-back triples to turn a five-point deficit in Meralco’s favor, 91-90, with 57.2 seconds to go.
Black finished with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting on top of four rebounds, four assists, and a steal in 35 minutes of play. Jackson, on the other hand, supplied 10 markers, which he all scored in the fourth quarter.
“It was a great team effort. We had a lot of guys take big shots. Our rookie, AB, hit some big shots; Trevis Jackson hit some really, really big shots, so you definitely gotta give credit to the rest of the team,” Newsome said.
Besides the contributions from young ones, the Ateneo de Manila product also feels proud that Meralco played much better defensively. Their performance allowed them to bounce back from a bitter loss to rivals Ginebra last Sunday.
“We lost our last game against Ginebra. We definitely wanna come out with more energy, and we really just wanted to be a team that’s known for defense,” said Newsome.
“Sometimes we let our offense dictate our defense and that’s not really what Meralco basketball is known for. So we just wanted to come out, play with a lot of energy, play with a lot of heart, and try to do anything to get the win today.”