Meralco captures first-ever PBA title after dispatching San Miguel in 6 games

First title! Well deserved, Meralco! (PBA Images)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

Finally, after 14 long years, the Meralco Bolts are now kings of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).

Going up against the heavily favored San Miguel Beermen squad, Meralco embraced the underdog role to perfection and took down the behemoths in six games to clinch their first-ever PBA championship title.

Chris Newsome capped off his terrific PBA Finals performance by hitting the game-winning fade away jumper from the baseline that rewarded the Bolts with an 80-78 Game 6 victory on June 16, 2024, at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

However, Meralco’s path to the title wasn’t a walk in the park after the Beermen clawed their way back from a 13-point deficit.

Down by three points with only 5.7 seconds remaining in the game, June Mar Fajardo boosted San Miguel’s hopes of extending the series after draining the game-tying three-pointer from the left elbow.

Fajardo received a loose inbound pass by Simon Enciso, rushed to his spot in the left elbow, and stunned the whole Meralco crowd after hitting the tough rainbow shot.

Eager to put things away for the Bolts and avoid an extra five-minute period in the game, Newsome played hero ball once again and countered back with a sweet fade away jumper from the right baseline that iced the game for Meralco.

San Miguel had one last chance to tie or win the game with 1.3 seconds left but Fajardo couldn’t replicate his earlier heroics as his attempt from downtown went way off the mark.

“This is a special moment because honestly, we didn’t really think we were going to get this far. We didn’t even think we were going to make it to the playoffs. But here we are,” said Newsome after their win.

Newsome spearheaded Meralco’s attack in Game 6 and stuffed the stat sheets with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block.

Meanwhile, Chris Banchero, one of the prized additions to Meralco, recorded a near triple-double stat-line of 10 markers, eight rebounds, and eight dimes.

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