Meralco broke through one hurdle after another and beat Magnolia 102-98 in Game 5 on Wednesday to experience another day in the PBA Philippine Cup semi-finals at Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga .
Only Maliksi withstood a shaky shot in the first half, while Nards Pinto made a career match to overcome Chris Newsome’s exit and prevent the Hotshots from fighting in the stretch that reduced the Hotshots’ lead to 3-2.
“It was a very courageous performance from my players – to go out and fight the whole game,” said coach Norman Black, whose charges also fought from 11 points to require Game 6. .
“We also fought a Magnolia team on a good [day], “He continued.” But we held on. We did some big shots down the home stretch, which was very, very important. We kept our cool and gave ourselves a chance to come back in. this series.”
Maliksi finished with 29 points, finishing with 7 for 8 shots from beyond the arc – many of them hanging on – which kept Magnolia close at hand late in the game.
Pinto, meanwhile, contributed 24 for the Bolts, who were orphaned by Newsome following a contentious foul – the goalkeeper’s sixth – called at 7:10 of the last frame.
“Our defense was pretty strong tonight, unlike the last game our outside shots fell, which was very, very important because we were up against a very good defensive team,” said Black.
“I think in this game we just wanted to be able to fight another day. We wanted to play again on Friday, ”added Black.
So the Bolts have booked a stint in another elimination game, but with at least one extra dimension: a win there will square the series and force it to a decision maker – and a chance to turn their long-held dream. from a first all -Filipino Finals a reality.
Magnolia shot 25 points from Mark Barroca and 19 from Calvin Abueva, who kept things interesting with a triple and a neat treasure hunt to bring the hotshots down to 100-98 with eight seconds left.
Raymond Almazan, who was still treating an injured ankle, pulled off a crucial rebound and pierced his gifts to put the finishing touches on Meralco’s valiant position.
“Raymond is one of the reasons we’re here in the semi-finals. He gives us a great man who can compete with every other great man in the league, ”Black said.
“There is no tomorrow for us. We can’t really think of the confidence or be too happy about the victory. Instead, we just have to focus on what we need to do to beat Magnolia again, ”added Black.
“The only good thing about this game is that we didn’t make a lot of adjustments before this game. We just played a little better than the last game and we were able to stay in the game with our perimeter shot. So if we can shoot the ball well on Friday, I think we also have a good chance of winning this game. “
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