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Tiebreaker Times

Basketball

PBA: Balanced Meralco attack zaps Ginebra to take Game One


Meralco sent quite a statement as it blew out Ginebra, 104-91, to take the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals opener, Wednesday night at SMART Araneta Coliseum.

Allein Maliksi sparked the breakaway with a sensational second quarter outing, before Tony Bishop and the rest of the crew came through in the second half as the Bolts went on to register the 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.

“It’s very important to get that first win. If you fall behind, the series becomes much harder to catch up,” said coach Norman Black. “I thought we really got off to a great start today offensively, and our defense held up very, very well.”

Maliksi led Meralco with 20 points, 15 of which he made in the second period that saw him go 4-for-4 from the floor. It included a pair of threes, one of which gave them their first double-digit lead at 40-30 with 6:12 to go.

The 34-year-old shot 50-percent from the floor overall and also hauled down eight rebounds in a near double-double outing.

“The locals did a great job of setting the tone, particularly Allein Maliksi, who came in and was shooting very well today,” said Black.

Bishop supplied 20 points and 12 rebounds, leading the charge in the third canto to sustain Maliksi’s efforts by scoring 12 in the frame alone.

As the Bolts knocked to within five, the Panamanian cager hit a triple, which sparked a 13-0 run to finish the quarter with the Bolts up 78-60.

Meralco went on to lead by as high as 21 points, 85-64, following a three-pointer by Bong Quinto about three minutes into the payoff period.

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“In the second half, Tony Bishop started scoring the basketball, which helped us a great deal. In the first half, I thought the locals carried us for the most part. In the second half, Tony stepped up and made some big shots,” Black offered.

Cliff Hodge produced 17 points on an 8-of-9 clip from the field. Sophomore Aaron Black made 12 points and six rebounds to make it a Finals debut to remember for him, while Raymond Almazan added 10 in the victory.

Their win, though, was marred by an altercation between Raymar Jose and opposing forward Arvin Tolentino in the dying seconds, a moment so heated that it spilled onto the Big Dome hallway after the match.

Meanwhile, Justin Brownlee led the reigning champions with 27 points in a performance that saw him go 7-of-20, including 2-of-7 from deep. The Best Import race leader also had six rebounds, five assists, and three blocks.

Christian Standhardinger backed him up with 20 points and 14 rebounds in the defeat that wasted the triple-double outing of Scottie Thompson, who posted 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists along with two steals.

Game Two is on Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The Scores

Meralco 104 – Maliksi 22, Bishop 20, Hodge 17, Black 12, Almazan 10, Newsome 8, Quinto 6, Belo 5, Banchero 2, Jose 2, Canete 0, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0, Pasaol 0, Baclao 0, Jamito 0.

Ginebra 91 – Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 20, Thompson 19, Tolentino 6, Tenorio 5, Chan 5, Caperal 4, Ayaay 3, Pinto 2, Enriquez 0, Onwubere 0, Mariano 0, Devance 0.

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Quarterscores: 25-23, 53-42, 78-60, 104-91.

All PBA games stream live on GigaPlay. Download it now on Android or IOS.

The second game of each playdate is also livestreamed on SMART Sports.

Written By

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


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