Meralco sets PBA PH Cup Finals date with SMB after stunning Ginebra in semis decider

Chris Banchero took flight for Meralco in the decider against Ginebra. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JOSE, Batangas--For the first time ever, it will be a San Miguel-Meralco PBA finals series.

The Bolts booked their place in the championship round of the Philippine Cup after taking down Barangay Ginebra, 78-69, in the rubber match of their semifinal series on Friday night at the FPJ Arena here.

The turnaround began late in the second quarter when Meralco, down 11 midway in the second, finished the period on a 19-3 run to steal the lead, 36-31, at halftime.

The team then pulled away in the second half, eventually opening a 16-point lead, 74-58, with 5:39 left in the fourth quarter before holding off Ginebra in the end.

Chris Banchero led the Bolts with 24 points, six rebounds, one assist, and one steal, while Chris Newsome added 20 points, two rebounds, and six assists.

Scottie Thompson's best performance in this semifinal series of 20 points, 10 rebounds, six assists, and four steals went for naught as the Gin Kings failed to close out the series despite taking a 3-2 lead after Game 5.

The entire finals series between SMB and Meralco will take place at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City beginning Wednesday night.

The Scores:

MERALCO 78 – Banchero 24, Newsome 20, Quinto 10, Hodge 8, Bates 6, Almazan 3, Caram 3, Pascual 2, Maliksi 2, Mendoza 0

GINEBRA 69 – Thompson 20, Standhardinger 16, Pringle 13, J. Aguilar 8, Pinto 5, Ahamisi 4, Cu 3, Tenorio 0

QUARTERS: 15-20, 36-31, 62-51, 78-69 

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