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Newsome, Meralco overcome Standhardinger’s 41 to even PBA semis series

Meralco displayed composure in getting back at Ginebra, 103-91, to even their PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup best-of-7 semifinal battle at one game apiece, Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The Bolts squandered a 17-point third-quarter lead just before the very same period concluded. However, Chris Newsome and the rest of the unit responded in the closing chapter to make sure that no meltdown would take place.

Newsome finished with 20 points, none more important than the tough layup to cap off a 7-0 run toward a 95-87 lead with 3:31 to go. That lead put them in control all the way to the finish and turned the series to a virtual best-of-5.

“That’s part of what we talked about in practice, is having that poise, whenever it comes to closing out games,” said Newsome, who also had four rebounds, three assists, and a steal in nearly 37 minutes of play.

“This is the PBA. We’re a competitive basketball league, so no lead is really safe. So you definitely can’t let your guard down at any point in time during the game,” added the 33-year-old combo guard.

Allein Maliksi top-scored for Meralco with 25 points. Cliff Hodge supplied 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Chris Banchero added 10 and eight boards.

All three had a hand in the strong endgame to secure the victory.

Hodge himself had six of his boards on the offensive end that saw him give his side three possessions in a row in the closing minutes. That advantage enabled the Bolts to stay in the driver’s seat until the final buzzer.

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“I think we were more aligned today,” offered head coach Luigi Trillo. “But there are still some things that we need to improve on. We know they’re (Ginebra) going to come back, we just have to be ready.”

Meralco’s collective effort proved too much for the solo effort of Christian Standhardinger, who strapped the Barangay on his back and finished with a new career-high of 41 points, alongside 11 rebounds.

It marked the second time in this playoffs alone that Trillo and Co. overcame a team led by a player with at least 40 points.

Back in the quarterfinals, they wasted Robert Bolick’s 48-point effort by downing NLEX, 97-93, in Game 1.

“Basketball is a team sport. There are five guys on the floor and it comes down to how you use those pieces and utilize those pieces,” said Newsome.

“We’re okay with letting one guy go off if that means that everybody else is cold, doesn’t have their rhythm. Because at the end of the day, all we need is the win,” added the two-time All-Star.

The other Kings were indeed cold in Game 2. Oly Maverick Ahanmisi and Stanley Pringle were the only other double-digit scorers with 14 and 13, respectively – that, after five players scored in twin digits in their Game 1 win last Friday.

Game 3 is on Wednesday, May 22, 7:30 PM at the Dasmariñas Arena in Cavite.

The Scores:

Meralco 103 Maliksi 25, Newsome 20, Hodge 13, Banchero 11, Almazan 7, Quinto 7, Mendoza 6, bates 6, Pascual 5, Caram 3, Rios 0, Torres 0.

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Ginebra 91 – Standhardinger 41, Ahanmisi 14, Pringle 13, j.Aguilar 7, Thompson 6, Cu 6, Onwubere 3, Tenorio 1, David 0, Pinto 0, Murrell 0.

Quarterscores: 32-27, 55-42, 73-74, 103-91.

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.

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