Meralco finally ends playoff frustrations vs. Ginebra with QF clincher

Chris Newsome's triple-double was just enough to survive Scottie Thompson's 26-point blast as Meralco finally beats Ginebra in a playoff series. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--After years of heartbreaks, Meralco finally overcame Ginebra in a PBA playoff series.

The Bolts finally got the better of the Gin Kings in their seventh try, eliminating them in the Philippine Cup quarterfinals with a 106-104 win in their rubber match on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

However, Meralco survived an endgame attack from Ginebra as the breaks of the game came to the former's favor late.

The Gin Kings rallied from 21 points down and, through an LA Tenorio triple, took the lead, 104-103, with 1:12 remaining.

However, Raymond Almazan drilled in what would be the winning basket for the Bolts, a three-pointer of his own with exactly a minute left.

Meralco could now close out Ginebra sooner as Japeth Aguilar blocked Chris Newsome's layup attempt, but Ginebra committed a crucial turnover as Scottie Thompson was called for an offensive foul, which would be his sixth, for warding off Cliff Hodge while attempting his potential equalizer layup.

Aaron Black, however, committed an error too as he let Christian Standhardinger force a jump-ball situation, and as Standhardinger won the tip, the Gin Kings called for a timeout with 7.7 seconds left.

In the final play, however, Stanley Pringle missed a pull-up jumper despite pulling an ankle breaker on Hodge, and Almazan cleared the rebound as time expired.

Newsome finished with a triple-double of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists with two steals to lead Meralco, which will take on San Miguel in the semifinals beginning on Wednesday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Aaron Black added 17 points, three rebounds, four assists, and one steal, while Hodge contributed 13 points, 18 rebounds, two assists, and one steal.

Thompson had 26 markers, six boards, three dimes, and two steals in 44 minutes of play, Standhardinger put up 23 points, 10 caroms, four assists, and two steals, and Japeth Aguilar had 21 points, seven rebounds, and two blocks for Ginebra, which missed out on winning a second straight title after ruling last season's Governors' Cup at the expense of the same Meralco squad in the finals then.

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