Meralco survives late Ginebra shocker to take 2-1 lead in PBA PH Cup semis

Allein Maliksi was stellar again for Meralco. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

DASMARIÑAS—Meralco nearly bubbled a double-digit spread against Ginebra's seldom-used bench players but still prevailed with an 87-80 win in Game 3 of the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals on Wednesday night at the Dasmariñas Arena.

The Bolts looked poise to walk away with a blowout win after taking an 85-71 lead with 1:59 left in the game.

However, the Gin Kings' shock troopers made things interesting as they connived on a 9-0 run that trimmed the lead down to five, 85-80, with 24.2 seconds remaining to the delight of their fans who flocked the sold-out arena.

Meralco kept the door open for Ginebra to continue its late comeback as Alvin Pasaol missed his free throws off an LA Tenorio foul.

However, Tenorio missed a long triple and David Murrell missed the putback in the next play, and Jansen Rios finally sealed the Bolts' win with two free throws with two seconds to go.

Allein Maliksi led Meralco, now 2-1 up in their best-of-seven series, with 16 points, two rebounds, and one assist.

Chris Newsome added 14 points, four rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block.

Japeth Aguilar led Ginebra with 15 points, nine rebounds, and one block.

Three nights after setting a career-high 41 points, Christian Standhardinger was held to just 10 points on 3-for-10 field goals and 4-of-11 free throws, but he too had 10 rebounds, three assists, and one steal.

The Scores:

MERALCO 87 – Maliksi 16, Newsome 14, Quinto 10, Banchero 9, Hodge 9, Almazan 8, Caram 6, Bates 6, Torres 3, Pascual 2, Rios 2, Dario 2, Mendoza 0, Pasaol 0, 

GINEBRA 80 – J. Aguilar 15, Ahanmisi 13, Standhardinger 10, Tenorio 9,  Thompson 8, Pinto 6, Cu 5, Pessumal 5, Pringle 4, Onwubere 3, R. Aguilar 2, Murrell 0

QUARTERS: 31-18, 48-34, 72-59, 87-80

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