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PBA: Meralco denies SMB a rare elims sweep in Batangas, earns QF ticket

No history was written at the Batangas City Coliseum on Saturday night as Meralco spoiled San Miguel’s plan of sweeping the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup elimination round clean by way of a 95-92 victory.

Chris Banchero calmly sank his free throws with 2:08 to play, giving the Bolts enough breathing room after witnessing the Beermen get to within just two points, 93-91, after trailing by as many as 17 points late in the third.

Missed freebies by June Mar Fajardo and CJ Perez, where they went a combined 1-of-4 in their trips, plus the latter’s missed attempt from near the center court ultimately enabled the MVP franchise to be the 1 in 10-1.

Coach Jorge Gallent and Co. were favored to become just the fifth team in league history to sweep the eliminations given their form, only to bow to a squad that has seemingly become a thorn in their side for some time now.

Cliff Hodge top-scored for Meralco with 20 points and 13 rebounds as the crew finished the preliminaries with a 6-5 card to book an outright quarterfinal trip.

Allein Maliksi finished with 19 points as the veteran swingman nailed key buckets down the stretch to help repel the opposition’s rallies. He shot 64-percent in an outing that saw him score over half of their 36 bench points.

Chris Newsome had 17 points, three rebounds, six assists, and three steals without a turnover. Bong Quinto supplied 12 points while Banchero came through with 10 points, four boards, five dimes, and two steals.

San Miguel, on the other hand, was led by the 23-point, 19-rebound performance by seven-time MVP Fajardo in the defeat.

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Jericho Cruz and Don Trollano were the only other double-digit scorers for the Beermen as the Adamson boys chipped in 14 points apiece.

Despite the loss, the Beermen are still coming into the quarters set next week as the no. 1 seed, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage as well.

The Scores:

Meralco 95 – Hodge 20, Maliksi 19, Newsome 17, Quinto 12, Banchero 10, Caram 6, Almazan 6, Bates 5, Pascual 0, Dario 0, Pasaol 0, Torres 0.

San Miguel 92 – Fajardo 23, Cruz 14, Trollano 14, Lassiter 9, Perez 8, Romeo 8, Enciso 6, Tautuaa 4, Brondial 4, Manuel 2, Teng 0, Ross 0.

Quarterscores: 27-20, 52-44, 82-66, 95-92.

Written By

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

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