The Meralco Bolts kept their season alive with a thrilling 102-98 win over the Magnolia Hotshots in Game Five of the PBA Philippine Cup semis on Wednesday afternoon at the DHVSU Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Allein Maliksi scored nine straight points while Raymond Almazan was steady from the charity stripe down the stretch to help Meralco pull off the win sans top wingman Chris Newsome, who fouled out with 7:10 left in the fourth quarter.
With the game tied at 90-all, Maliksi canned three free-throws and consecutive three-pointers to give Meralco a 99-93 lead with 1:21 left in the match. But Magnolia kept fighting and pulled to within three, 96-99, after a triple from Calvin Abueva.
The Hotshots even had a chance to come closer after they stole Meralco’s inbound pass but they couldn’t convert, leading to a made free-throw by Almazan for a 100-96 lead, time down to 10 seconds. Abueva then scored on a perfectly executed alley-oop play off a timeout to keep the Hotshots within two but Almazan shut the door on them with two made free-throws with seven seconds remaining.
Maliksi scored a playoff career-high 29 points, spiked by seven three pointers while Nard Pinto added 24 markers and five assists. Newsome finished with 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. Almazan, back from an ankle injury, added nine points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a block.
Mark Barroca paced Magnolia with 25 points, six rebounds and four assists while Abueva stuffed the stat sheet with 19 points, eight boards and six dimes. Ian Sangalang had a monster game with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
MERALCO 102 – Maliksi 29, Pinto 24, Newsome 23, Almazan 9, Hugnatan 6, Hodge 4, Belo 4, Quinto 3, Pasaol 0, Caram 0, Jackson 0
MAGNOLIA 98 – Barroca 25, Abueva 19, Sangalang 15, Lee 13, Jalalon 12, Ahanmisi 8, Reavis 6, Dionisio 0, Corpuz 0, Dela Rosa 0
Quarters : 23-33, 45-47, 69-71, 102-98. (JNP)