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    Meralco rides big third quarter vs SMB to tie semifinal series at 2-2

    Aug 10, 2022
    Aaron Black, SMB vs Meralco
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    MERALCO brought its 2022 PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series against San Miguel back to square one after an emphatic 111-97 win on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

    The Bolts were quick to atone for their bad shooting night in Game Three as Aaron Black, Allein Maliksi, and Raymond Almazan combined to a 11-of-15 clip for 30 points in the third to start the breakaway.

    The Bolts led by as many as 22 points in Game Four on the way to tying the best-of-seven semifinal series at 2-2.

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      Black produced 21 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists, while Allein Maliksi had 19 points including two threes to open the third quarter.

      A big revelation on offense was Almazan, who scored 12 of his 17 points in the third period after only making four on Sunday.

      Overall, the Bolts shot 56.3 percent from the field.

      Allein Maliksi Meralco SMB

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      “We shot the ball much better today. Aaron came out and was very aggressive right from the start. Other guys like Allein Maliksi also came out and shot the ball very very well,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.

      Momentum shifted after back-to-back threes by Maliksi enabled Meralco to build a 66-55 lead early in the third quarter. Two free throws by Bong Quinto opened a 94-72 lead for the Bolts, who never trailed the entire game.

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      CJ Perez scored 24 points, Marcio Lassiter added 23 while June Mar Fajardo had 21 points and 13 rebounds, but the latter was held to nine attempts and 13 free throws.

      The scores:

      Meralco 111 – Black 21, Maliksi 19, Hodge 18, Almazan 17, Quinto 11, Newsome 8, Belo 4, Hugnatan 3, Banchero 2, Jose 2, Pascual 2, Johnson 0, Caram 0, Pasaol 0.

      San Miguel 97 – Perez 24, Lassiter 23, Fajardo 21, Manuel 9, Brondial 9, Canete 4, Zamar 3, Cruz 2, Pessumal 1, Tautuaa 1, Enciso 0, Ross 0, Herndon 0.

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      Quarters: 36-23; 58-53; 88-71; 111-97.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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