Meralco takes down Ginebra in 7 games to set up a PBA Finals clash with SMB

Meralco completes the stunning series win over Ginebra (PBA)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

The Meralco Bolts showed poise under pressure and eliminated the fan-favorite Ginebra San Miguel squad, 78-69, in Game 7 of their PBA Philippine Cup semifinals series on May 31, 2024, at the FPJ Arena in San Jose, Batangas.

With the grind-out win over Ginebra, Meralco just punched a ticket to the grand finals and set up a highly-anticipated championship series showdown against the no. 1 team in the conference, the San Miguel Beermen.

Eager and hungry for a rare post-season success, the Bolts shut the Gin Kings down on both ends of the floor and showed a consistent performance in all four quarters.

There was never a run that the Bolts gave up their lead and were always in command until the final buzzer sounded.

Chris Banchero played a huge game 7 for Meralco and spearheaded their campaign with a career playoff-high 24 points and six rebounds.

The combo guard was an all-around efficient glue guy for the Bolts during the first six games but when Game 7 kicked off, Banchero stepped on the gas pedal and shifted into an unstoppable scoring machine.

Banchero got to the hole at will, drained most of his perimeter jump shots, and helped the Bolts in the rebounding battle against the bigger Ginebra team.

With Banchero heating up, Meralco extended their biggest lead of the game to 16 points and never looked back in the whole fourth quarter.

Chris Newsome also delivered in their final semifinals game and dropped 20 markers for the Bolts while Bong Quinto, their money man in Game 6, added 10 points.

Aside from their scoring, Meralco also received a huge boost defensively from their young center Brandon Bates who manned the Bolts’ shaded lane with his blocking prowess.

Despite tough matchups against Christian Standhardinger and Japeth Aguilar, Bates was fearless in the crucial Game 7 and tallied six points and six rejections.

“I thought the guys were poised. We’ve beaten them back-to-back. That’s something to be proud about. We’ve got to put our focus now on the finals,” said Meralco head coach Luigi Trillo after the Game 7 win.

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