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Meralco punches semis seat after romping SMB

Tony Bishop led the way for the Bolts again as they never let the Beermen complete another comeback. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--No more epic comeback this time.

Meralco made sure that San Miguel will not crawl back from a huge deficit as the former finally finished the job and won, 100-85, in the PBA Governors' Cup quarterfinals on Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Bolts could have afforded to concede a late rally by the Beermen and still have another chance to finish them off.

Instead, Meralco showed that it has already learned its lessons from its major collapse on March 5 which nearly cost them the quarterfinal bonus.

The Bolts broke a 26-all tie after the first quarter by holding the Beermen to just 14 points in the second quarter and dropping 31 in the third for a 79-61 lead.

Meralco even led by as much as 21 late in the third period.

SMB tried to rally again with Shabazz Muhammad, the catalyst of the team's huge comeback from 28 points down, starting to get his buckets after a slow start even as the team cut the lead to just 12, 92-80, with four and a half minutes left.

But an 8-2 run right after it sealed the blowout win for the Bolts, who became the first team to clinch a spot in the semifinals.

Tony Bishop fired 32 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, and two blocks to lead Meralco, which will face the winner of the other quarterfinal pairing between Magnolia and Phoenix in the best-of-five semifinals next week.

The Hotshots are playing the Fuel Masters later Friday.

Chris Newsome added 22 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block.

Muhammad was held to only 24 points with 15 rebounds, one assist, and one block for SMB, which was ousted early despite a solid finish to its elimination round campaign that put them close to grabbing the quarterfinal incentive.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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