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Chris Newsome

Meralco staves off NLEX to complete semis cast in PBA Philippine Cup

The Meralco Bolts put down the NLEX Road Warriors, 97-86, in their do-or-die quarterfinal match to barge into the semifinals of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup, on Friday night at the Don Honorio Ventura State University gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.

The win completed the semifinal cast that will see Meralco taking on the third-seeded Magnolia Hotshots in a best-of-seven series. The other semis showdown will feature the top-seeded TNT against the many-time All-Filipino champions, San Miguel Beermen. That too will be a best-of-seven affair.

After losing by the skin of their teeth last Wednesday, the Bolts buckled down and dominated early, thanks to the stellar performances of Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge. However, the Road Warriors rallied and trimmed the Bolts’ lead down to seven, 75-82, after a basket from Jericho Cruz with 5:59 to go.

Anjo Caram
Anjo Caram / PBA

Meralco, though, did not panic and responded with buckets from Newsome and the ageless Reynel Hugnatan before guard Anjo Caram hit a booming triple that raised their lead to 14, 89-75.

Newsome led Meralco with 23 points, nine rebounds, six assists, and two blocks. Caram and Hodge added 16 points each while Hugnatan chipped in 11 markers in the victory.

The Scores:

MERALCO 97 – Newsome 23, Caram 16, Hodge 16, Hugnatan 11, Quinto 9, Maliksi 8, Belo 7, Pinto 5, Almazan 2, Pasaol 0

NLEX 86 – Oftana 14, Trollano 19, Quinahan 13, Cruz 11, Alas 10, Semerad 8, Paniamogan 3, Soyud 4, Miranda 2, Ighalo 2

Quarters : 22-21, 46-35, 68-60, 97-86

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