Meralco equalizes semis series with Magnolia

Meralco managed to equalize at one game apiece its best-of-five semifinal series with Magnolia in the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup by pulling off a hard-earned 81-75 victory over the top-ranked squad, Friday night at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

Bolts import Tony Bishop rebounded from a pedestrian showing in the series opener by coming up with a well-rounded effort of 22 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in 42 minutes of play.

“It’s very important for Tony to produce for us in this series. And I say that because he’s going up against Mike Harris who produces every single night,” said Meralco coach Norman Black during the post-game presser.

“We just came to the conclusion that the only way we’re gonna win this series is we just have to focus on the defensive end of the court. We still wanna keep the game fast, keep it quick, whenever we can have the opportunity to score on the fastbreak we just want to take advantage of it. But we know it’s gonna be our defense that’s gonna make a difference this series,” he added.

Chris Newsome added 18 points while fellow guards Aaron Black and Chris Banchero chipped in 14 and 10 markers, respectively.

Mike Harris paced the Hotshots with 25 points to go with 17 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Paul Lee, who shot 3-of-16 from the field including 0-of-8 from long distance, was the only local player to score in double figures with 10. The frontcourt tandem of Calvin Abueva and Ian Sangalang was held to 9 points each and a combined 7 rebounds.

Magnolia will try to regain control of the series when the two sides clash in pivotal Game 3 which is set at 4:00pm on Sunday, March 27 at the same venue.

The scores.

Meralco 81 – Bishop 22, Newsome 18, Black 14, Banchero 10, Maliksi 6, Almazan 5, Hugnatan 3, Quinto 2, Jose 1, Baclao 0, Hodge 0, Caram 0

Magnolia 75 – Harris 25, Lee 10, Sangalang 9, Abueva 9, Dela Rosa 7, Jalalon 6, Corpuz 3, Barroca 3, Wong 3, Reavis 0, Dionisio 0

Quarterscores: 20-15, 42-37, 66-61, 81-75.

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