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Meralco sustains sizzling start to tie semis vs. SMB anew

Cliff Hodge scores on a dunk. Dennis Acosta
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Meralco used a blistering start and was able to sustain it until the end to trip San Miguel, 111-97, in Game 4 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

For the first time since last year's Philippine Cup, the Beermen never got to taste the lead all game long against the Bolts, but the former came close to that.

Meralco erupted for 36 points in the first quarter, resetting the league conference-high for a single quarter the team itself made in Game 2, as it looked to bludgeon SMB early on.

The Beermen, however, recovered in the second quarter and came to within one, 48-49, with 1:49 left before halftime.

The Bolts got their bearing back to end the second period and eventually pulled away for good in the second half, even stretching their lead to as high as 22 early in the fourth quarter.

Aaron Black made 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and one steal for Meralco, which tied the best-of-seven series again at 2-2.

Allein Malikso added 19 points, four rebounds, and one assist.

CJ Perez fired 24 points with eight rebounds, four assists, and two steals, Marcio Lassiter made 23 points, three rebounds, one assist, and one steal, and June Mar Fajardo put up 21 markers, 13 boards, and two dimes for SMB.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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