MERALCO found the necessary offense in a battle between the league’s top defensive teams, hacking out an 81-75 victory over Magnolia to pull even in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals on Friday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Meralco vs Magnolia Game 2
Tony Bishop recovered from a conference-low output as he conspired with Chris Newsome in hitting the clutch shots in a grind-out affair that was marred by what looked like a shot-clock violation against the Bolts that the officials saw otherwise.
Bishop finished with 22 points after being held to just 10 in the series opener as the Bolts took Game Two of the best-of-five series.
Game Three is on Sunday also in the same venue.
Finishing second in the eliminations in opponents scoring, allowing just 93 points per game, the Bolts flaunted their defensive prowess in Game Two where they limited the Hotshots to just 35.1-percent shooting.
“We came to the conclusion that the only way we’re going to win this series is we just focus on the defensive side of the floor, because Magnolia’s a really good defensive team so you’re not going to be able to score a lot of points against them,” Bolts coach Norman Black said.
“Both teams actually played very good defense, but I thought we did a good job on Mike Harris, especially in the second half,” he added.
Harris still finished with 25 points and 17 boards in 43 minutes, but the Magnolia import could only produce two points in the payoff period where the Bolts barely outscored the Hotshots, 15-14,
Newsome scored five of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer with eight minutes left that gave the Bolts the lead for good at 69-66.
The Bolts held on in a game that had four lead changes.
The Hotshots, who erased a 10-point deficit early in the third quarter, came to within five points, 75-80, after an Adrian Wong triple with 50 seconds left. Then the controversy took place as Bishop’s three-point attempt with 30 seconds remaining looking like it hit only the board as the shot clock expired, only for the officials let play continue as Aaron Black grabbed the offensive rebound.
Meralco 81 – Bishop 22, Newsome 18, Black 14, Banchero 10, Maliksi 6, Almazan 5, Hugnatan 3, Quinto 2, Jose 1, Baclao 0, Hodge 0, Caram 0
Magnolia 75 – Harris 25, Lee 10, Sangalang 9, Abueva 9, Dela Rosa 7, Jalalon 6, Corpuz 3, Barroca 3, Wong 3, Reavis 0, Dionisio 0
The scores: 20-15, 42-37, 66-61, 81-75
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