MERALCO went on a telling run and held off a late Magnolia charge to put away a 101-95 victory on Sunday as it moved on the cusp of making it back to the finals of the PBA Governors' Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Allein Maliksi and Chris Banchero tormented their former team by sparking a 13-3 run in the final quarter before surviving the Hotshots' last-ditch comeback and win their second straight game in the best-of-five semifinal series.
The Bolts now lead, 2-1, and can advance to the PBA Finals with a win in Game 4 on Wednesday.
"I'm happy we won tonight but I don't think we played great tonight," said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Mike Harris and Jio Jalalon combined for seven straight points as Magnolia crept within 95-92 in the final 56 seconds.
Meralco though went to Newsome and Bishop for the mop-up operation to hand the top-seeded Hotshots their first back-to-back losses in the conference.
Bishop shows way
Bishop led Meralco with 27 points and 10 rebounds, Newsome added 15, while Maliksi and Bong Quinto had 10 each.
“We just thought this was a pivotal game for us in this series. If we could win the game, it gives us the better chance of making it to the championship," Black said.
Mike Harris led Magnolia with his 24 points and 17 rebounds, while Mark Barroca added 15 and backcourt partner Jio Jalalon had 13, seven rebounds, and four assists.
The Hotshot though failed to get mileage from Paul Lee and Calvin Abueva, who combined for just 13 points on 4-of-17 shooting from the field.
Meralco (101) -- Bishop 27, Banchero 23, Newsome 16, Quinto 10, Maliksi 10, Almazan 6, Hodge 4, Baclao 3, Black 2, Belo 0, Caram 0.
Magnolia (95) -- Harris 24, Barroca 15, Sangalang 14, Jalalon 13, Abueva 8, Wong 7, Dela Rosa 7, Lee 5, Reavis 2.
Quarterscores: 24-19; 46-50; 76-72; 101-95.
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