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    Meralco survives fiery Ginebra comeback, reaches PBA semifinals

    Jul 31, 2022
    Meralco big man Raymond Almazan celebrates hitting the marginal trey against Ginebra.
    Meralco big man Raymond Almazan celebrates hitting the marginal trey against Ginebra.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    MERALCO finally overcame Barangay Ginebra in a playoff series after pulling off a gutsy 106-104 win on Sunday in do-or-die Game Three of their 2022 PBA Philippine Cup quarterfinal series at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Raymond Almazan became the unlikely hero of the Bolts, hitting a three-pointer with one minute left in a fiercely fought contest to restore order for Meralco after the Gin Kings grabbed a one-point lead on a trey by LA Tenorio.

    [See Clutch Jalalon helps Magnolia outlast NLEX in OT]

    The Bolts held on until the final buzzer to advance to the semifinals at the expense of a team that had brought them so much heartache in the past, in the same venue where they lost last season’s Governors’ Cup Finals to the Gin Kings.

    The Bolts led by as many as 21 points but didn't breathe easy until Ginebra guard Stanley Pringle missed a step-back jumper in the game's final possession.

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    Meralco also dodged a bullet on the previous play after Ginebra guard Scottie Thompson was called for an offensive foul on Cliff Hodge while going for the game-tying layup - his sixth and final foul of the game.

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      “We are super relieved na we got the monkey off our back,” said Meralco assistant coach Luigi Trillo, who took over the team on a temporary basis with head coach Norman Black still in the US after the death of his monter.

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      Chris Newsome led Meralco with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists. His most crucial assist came from that hand-off to Almazan, who found himself wide open from the top of the key to hit what proved to be the marginal basket.

      “I’m just proud of everybody in our team. We knew they would make a run and we stuck together. It was good that we got the lead early so we just have to hold it out,” said Trillo.

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      Nards Pinto, Chris Banchero, christian standhardinger, alvin pasaol

      Aaron Black scored 17 points while Cliff Hodge had 13 points and 18 rebounds in the huge win for the franchise.

      Thompson topscored with 26 points while Christian Standhardinger had 23 points and 10 rebounds, but it was not enough to complete Ginebra's comeback from a 21-point deficit 78-57, in the second half.

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      The scores:

      Meralco 106 – Newsome 21, Black 17, Hodge 13, Maliksi 12, Quinto 11, Almazan 11, Pasaol 11, Banchero 4, Jose 4, Pascual 2.

      Barangay Ginebra 104 – Thompson 26, Standhardinger 23, J. Aguilar 21, Tenorio 12, Pringle 12, Pinto 6, Chan 4, Caperal 0, Onwubere 0, Mariano 0.

      Quarters: 24-18; 55-42; 85-76; 106-104.

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      Meralco big man Raymond Almazan celebrates hitting the marginal trey against Ginebra.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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