Meralco takes 2-1 semis series lead over Magnolia

Meralco pulled off another victory over Magnolia in the semifinal round of the 2021 PBA Governors’ Cup, Sunday at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.

Former Hotshots Allein Maliksi and Chris Banchero joined hands in the payoff period as the Bolts unleased a 13-3 run to grab a 10-point lead on the way to a 101-95 win and a 2-1 edge in their best-of-five affair.

“This is like a turning point for both teams, at this point,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black during the post-game presser.

“We just thought this was a very pivotal game for us in this series, and if we could win the game, it gives us a much better chance of making it to the championship,” he added.

Tony Bishop led the way for the Bolts with 27 points on top of 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 4 steals in 43 minutes of playing time. Banchero finished with 23 points while Chris Newsome added 16. Bong Quinto and Maliksi chipped in 10 markers apiece.

Mike Harris paced the Hotshots with 24 points and 17 rebounds but committed a game-high 6 turnovers. Mark Barroca, Ian Sangalang and Jio Jalalon contributed 15, 14 and 13 points, respectively.

Paul Lee, who is reportedly suffering from a sprained ankle, could only come up with 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field in almost 30 minutes of action.

Magnolia will try to equalize the series when the sides clash anew on Wednesday, March 30 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The scores:

Meralco 101 – Bishop 27, Banchero 23, Newsome 16, Quinto 10, Maliksi 10, Almazan 6, Hodge 4, Baclao 3, Black 2, Belo 0, Caram 0.

Magnolia 95 – Harris 24, Barroca 15, Sangalang 14, Jalalon 13, Abueva 8, Wong 7, Dela Rosa 7, Lee 5, Reavis 2.

Quarterscores: 24-19, 46-50, 76-72, 101-95.

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