Plenty of heroes stepped up as Meralco crawled back and escaped Magnolia in overtime, 113-107, to complete the 2023 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals ensemble, Wednesday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Bong Quinto and KJ McDaniels buried back-to-back treys for a 109-103 lead with under a minute left, before Chris Newsome nailed the key free throws shortly after as the Bolts went on to maximize their win-once quarters incentive.
Their exploits preserved the effort of Aaron Black, who sent the game into OT after beating the fourth-quarter buzzer against Jio Jalalon (96-all).
Now they turn their focus to TNT, whom they will face in a best-of-5 semis series beginning on Friday, 5:45 p.m at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
“Luckily, there were a lot of guys who were heroes tonight. And that’s what it takes at this time, we really have everyone to contribute for us to move up in the playoffs,” said head coach Norman Black.
Newsome led the way with a career-high 33 points and 11 rebounds for Meralco, who was staring at a four-point deficit inside the final minute of regulation but capitalized on the opposition’s miscues.
Biggest of which was the offensive foul called on Mark Barroca, which negated what could’ve been the dagger triple of Paul Lee with 56 seconds left.
The Bolts at that time were already in the midst of a comeback from seven down, 96-89, and that only helped a great deal as Black eventually pushed the game into an extra period. It was a 7-0 run for the crew in total.
McDaniels finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Black had his own double-double with 16 and 11. Chris Banchero added 16 as well, including the jumper that pulled them to within 94-96, the precursor to the game tier.
Lee, on the other hand, had 22 points on 17 shots to lead Magnolia, who failed to send the series to a rubber match and will instead head to vacation.
Fifth-seed entering the quarters, the Hotshots have bowed out of the playoffs against the very same team for the second Governors’ Cup in a row.
Meralco 113 – Newsome 33, McDaniels 27, Banchero 16, Black 16, Maliksi 9, Almazan 7, Quinto 3, Hodge 2, Caram 0, Pasaol 0, Jose 0.
Magnolia 107 – Lee 22, Hester 21, Barroca 18, Abueva 15, Jalalon 9, Dela Rosa 8, Dionisio 6, Wong 4, Escoto 4, Corpuz 0.
Quarterscores: 22-21, 47-49, 76-78, 96-96, 113-107
The second game of each PBA gameday is live-streamed on SMART Sports.