The Meralco Bolts came alive in the second half and secured a 95-77 victory over Barangay Ginebra, tying their semifinals series at 1-1 Friday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena. Chris Newsome set the tone for Meralco with 16 points, four rebounds, and six assists.
Down by eight at the half, the Bolts found another gear in the third quarter. They came out more aggressive defensively, holding the Gin Kings to just 11 points. Newsome was also pivotal as he scored nine points to put Meralco in the driver's seat heading into the fourth, 65-61.
The tide continued to turn in favor of Meralco in the final frame thanks to its airtight defense and hot shooting. Ginebra couldn't find any counter as the deficit became insurmountable. Newsome put the finishing touches in the game with a jumper, pushing the lead to 21, 91-70, with two and a half minutes remaining.
"We just talked about that we could not go down 0-2 because we have no chance in coming back into this series," said Meralco coach Norman Black. "This game was really, really important for us. We found out in Game 1 just exactly what we were up against. Offensively and defensively we made a few adjustments to try to be able to beat this team tonight."
Japeth Aguilar led the fight for Ginebra with 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting and pulled down eight rebounds. LA Tenorio added 16 points on four treys, but was quiet in the second half. The Gin Kings missed the usual production of Stanley Pringle who mustered only nine points, including 1-for-7 from downtown.
Meralco also got a significant boost from Allein Maliksi who netted 14 points and Raymond Almazan's double-double output of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
"Those two guys like I've been saying all along are big additions to our team and they're a big part of our team," said Black. "We need Allein for us to score to be successful. We need Raymond to have a presence in the middle for us to be successful. They did their jobs tonight but of course, the job is not done yet. We still have to win two more games."
MERALCO 95 - Newsome 16, Quinto 14, Maliksi 14, Hodge 12, Almazan 11, Amer 10, Hugnatan 9, Pinto 3, Black 2, Caram 2, Jamito 2, Faundo 0, Jose 0, Salva 0
BARANGAY GINEBRA 77 - Aguilar 17, Tenorio 16, Thompson 10, Tolentino 9, Pringle 9, Caperal 6, Salado 4, Mariano 4 , Caguioa 2, Dela Cruz 0, Dillinger 0, Devance 0, Balanza 0
Quarters : 23-27 , 42-50, 65-61, 95-77
- Meralco was severely outrebounded in Game 1 but controlled the glass against Ginebra in Game 2, 53-44.
- The Bolts scored 53 points in the second half while the Gin Kings only had 27.
- Jeff Chan sat out with a hamstring injury.
Game 3 on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 6:30 p.m.