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    Aaron shines on gloomy day for Black family as Meralco stops SMB streak

    Jul 17, 2022
    Aaron Black Meralco vs SMB
    Aaron Black gets past June Mar Fajardo for a layup.
    PHOTO: PBA Images

    MERALCO leaned on the clutch three point shooting of Allein Maliksi and Aaron Black down the stretch to hack out a thrilling 89-86 win over San Miguel to formally clinch a quarterfinals berth in the PBA Philippine Cup.

    Meralco vs San Miguel recap

    Maliksi and Black hit three straight from beyond the arc inside the final two minutes as the Bolts turned around a three-point deficit into an 88-83 lead going home.

    The Bolts improved to 6-4 and made it to the playoffs two days after head coach Norman Black's mother passed away in the US.

    "We're all playing for coach. He means a lot to our organization," said interim coach Luigi Trillo, who had gone 3-1 so far in the four games he handled the team in the absence of Black.

    "For us, this could mean a lot if we're able to win four games. We have one loss for him. So he'll take all the time he needs there, and we'll have him back when he's ready."

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    The victory snapped San Miguel's six-game winning run, although the game no longer has a bearing for the Beermen, who already clinched the no. 1 seed in the playoffs despite suffering a loss heading to the quarterfinals.

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    San Miguel ended the eliminations with a 9-2 record as deputy coach Ato Agustin called the shots for a team whose coaching staff had been decimated due to health and safety protocols.

    Maliksi topscored for 18 points including four three pointers, the last two he nailed on back-to-back occassion to put the Bolts on top, 85-83, before Black hit his own from beyond the arc and extended the lead to six.

    CJ Perez quickly countered back with a three on the other end to close within two, but Maliksi split his charities for the final count.

    Simon Enciso went for a potential game-tying three-pointer at the buzzer, but his shot was short as the ball just hit the front rim.

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    Chris Newsome added 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists for Meralco, which also got 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists from Black.

    San Miguel's loss spoiled another monster number for big man June Mar Fajardo, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds.

    The Beermen continued to miss the services of Jericho Cruz, Robbie Herndon, and Rodney Brondial, who are all listed under the team's health and safety protocols.

    The scores

    Meralco (89) - Maliksi 18, Newsome 16, Black 15, Hodge 9, Almazan 8, Banchero 7, Jose 6, Quinto 4, Hugnatan 4, Pascual 2, Baclao 0.

    San Miguel (86) - Fajardo 21, Perez 14, Lassiter 12, Manuel 12, Enciso 11, Tautuaa 9, Pessumal 5, Zamar 2, Canete 0, Faundo 0.

    Quarterscores: 19-26; 40-37; 70-67; 89-86.

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    Aaron Black gets past June Mar Fajardo for a layup.
    PHOTO: PBA Images
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