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    Meralco bares defensive teeth, silences Ginebra guns to even series

    Nov 20, 2020
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    MERALCO made Barangay Ginebra’s fears entering Game Two come true.

    A collective effort led by Chris Newsome and Allein Maliksi enabled the Bolts to post a 95-77 win and tie their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center at 1-1.

    Newsome and Maliksi led a Meralco comeback from a 12-point deficit and the Bolts' rigid defense took over from there, silencing Stanley Pringle and other top Ginebra scorers to put the best-of-five series back to square one.

    Despite a runaway Game One win, Ginebra coach Tim Cone said he expected Meralco to be tougher to beat, more so if Maliksi continues his hot shooting in Game One.

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    Not only did Maliksi stay consistent in his offensive production on Friday, he also found reinforcements from his teammates led by Newsome that were non-factors in the series opener.

    Meralco was also solid on defense with Ginebra’s main guy Stanley Pringle forced to bleed for his nine points, going 4-of-16 from the field in Game Two. As a team, the Kings shot a woeful 8-of-34 in the second half.

    Game Three will be played Sunday, 6:30 p.m.

    Newsome had 16 points, while Maliksi added 14 in a follow-up to his 24-point performance in the Game One loss.

    Four other players scored in double figures including Raymond Almazan, who had an 11-point, 11-rebound output in Game Two.

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    “We just talked about the fact that we could not go down 0-2 because we will have no chance of coming back in the series,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “This game was really, really important for us.”

    After being down 55-42 in the third quarter, the biggest Ginebra lead in the match, Meralco changed the complexion of the match shortly after the Kings took a 57-46 lead with 7:14 left on a lay-up by Japeth Aguilar.

    The Bolts went on a frantic 19-4 finish behind Newsome and Maliksi to wrest the lead, 61-60.

    Aguilar scored 17 points while LA Tenorio added 16, all in the first half when his sizzling start led to Ginebra seizing a 50-42 halftime lead.

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      The scores:

      Meralco 95 – Newsome 16, Quinto 14, Maliksi 14, Hodge 12, Almazan 11, Amer 10, Hugnatan 9, Pinto 3, Black 2, Caram 2, Jamito 2, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Salva 0.

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      Barangay Ginebra 77 – J. Aguilar 17, Tenorio 16, Thompson 10, Tolentino 9, Pringle 9, Caperal 6, Salado 4 Mariano 4, Caguioa 2, Dillinger 0, Dela Cruz 0, Devance 0, Balanza 0.

      Quarters: 23-27; 42-50; 65-61; 95-77.

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      PHOTO: PBA Images
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