Meralco forces a do-or-die PBA semifinal Game 7 against Ginebra

Allein Maliksi was clutch once again for the Bolts (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Meralco Bolts found a way to contain the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel after outclassing them in Game 6 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series duel, 86-81, on May 29, 2024, to force a winner-take-all Game 7.

Veteran scorer Allein Maliksi was huge for Meralco in the final crucial minutes of the game and went on a personal offensive run that was enough to fend off the courageous Ginebra fightback attempt.

In the final four minutes of the ball game and the Bolts only clinging to a five-point lead, 73-68, Maliksi stepped on the gas pedal and fired nine points that helped Meralco maintain their lead until the final buzzer.

The Meralco coaching staff inserted Maliksi in the final sequences of the fourth despite having shooting woes in the first three quarters.

Maliksi then paid off the trust of the Meralco coaching staff after exposing every mismatch he would get, driving to the basket at will when the defensive switch forced Christian Standhardinger or Japeth Aguilar against him.

With 2:13 remaining and the Bolts searching for another haymaker, Maliksi silenced the wild Ginebra crowd after finishing a tough layup over Scottie Thompson and Standhardinger that pushed Meralco’s lead to a commanding eight points, 82-74.

After the Maliksi heroics, the Bolts just continued to roll and held onto their lead. Despite two big threes from Maverick Ahanmisi and Stanley Pringle in the final 20 seconds of the game, time wasn’t on their side and had little time to put on a miraculous comeback.

Maliksi capped off his huge fourth-quarter explosion with 14 big points, with nine of them in the clutch period.

Chris Newsome led the Bolts in scoring with 23 points while Bong Quinto stepped up when Meralco needed his offense the most and delivered 21 markers.

“Sana kami naman. It’s good for the league. I think we’ve earned it. We have a lot of respect for Ginebra and what they do. We know it’s going to be hard. We have to just focus on that last game,” said Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo after the huge Game 6 win.

Both franchises will meet again for all the marbles in the upcoming Game 7 clash today, at 7:30 PM to be held in San Jose City, Batangas.

Can the Bolts pull off the stunning comeback series win or will Ginebra continue its consistent post-season success and punch another ticket to the finals?

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