Though they haven’t won a PBA championship yet, Chris Newsome believes that the Meralco Bolts’ Finals experience played a major role in their 2018 Governors’ Cup quarterfinal victory over the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
The Fuel Masters were armed with a twice-to-beat advantage for the playoffs after finishing the eliminations as the second seed, but the Orangemen blew that up by scoring a 108-103 come-from-behind victory, Friday night.
Meralco earned their first win over Phoenix last November 7. But unlike Friday’s win, where they had to climb back from 16 down, the Bolts had then turned it up in the third canto with a 17-2 scoring spree to pave the way for a 90-74 win.
“I definitely felt like that played a key, especially in Game One,” said Newsome.
For the athletic swingman out of Ateneo, what separated his Bolts from the Fuel Masters was their ability to adjust in certain situations, as adjustments are key for a team that has competed in the last two Governors’ Cup Finals.
“We understood that they’re gonna make adjustments and I felt like that’s where our Finals experience came in in making those adjustments because in a series that’s what happens,” added the three-year pro, who was born in San Jose, California.
“Phoenix haven’t made those kind of adjustments before.”
This has been a huge turnaround for the MVP franchise, after they had been in a dangerous spot at one point, when they went down 1-6. But Newsome and the team kept looking for brighter days ahead, and they are now here.
“We’re definitely blessed to be in the semis after that slow start we had in this conference. We’re just gonna take it all in stride and try to use this as a fresh opportunity to get back into the Finals.”
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