Meralco put an end to the series of playoff nightmares at the hands of Barangay Ginebra, this time escaping with a nail-biting 106-104 victory in Game 3 of their best-of-three quarterfinals duel in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Sunday, July 31.

Photo from PBA

The Bolts squandered a huge 20-point lead in the third frame but recovered just in time as Raymond Almazan drilled a clutch triple with exactly a minute left to put Meralco ahead for good and complete a redemption of some sort against the same team that dealt them so much heartbreaks in their past playoffs pairings.

With the Gin Kings getting their first taste of the lead since the first quarter after a booming LA Tenorio triple that gave them a 104-03 advantage with 1:12, Chris Newsome found a wide open Almazan who nailed the go-ahead three-pointer to give Meralco the lead.

Meralco won its first playoff series against Ginebra while also arranging a semifinals showdown against another powerhouse team in San Miguel Beer.

Newsome led the attack with a triple-double effort of 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds while Aaron Black backstopped him with 17 points. Cliff Hodge had another solid job underneath the basket for Meralco, scoring 13 points that went with 18 boards, 11 of which came from offensive rebounds.

Hodge also made a huge stop down the stretch for Meralco, drawing an offensive foul on Scottie Thompsono during his layup attempt that could have tied the game at 106-all with 10 seconds left in the game. That also turned out to be Thompson’s sixth and final foul of the evening as Meralco held on its defense in the waning minutes to protect the precarious two-point cushion.

Thompson paced Ginebra with 26 points while Japeth Aguilar added 21 and Christian Standhardinger chipping in 23.

Source: Manila Bulletin (