Bolts repeat over Gin Kings, take 2-1 semis series lead

Meralco dominated Barangay Ginebra in a low-scoring battle during their third match in the PBA Philippine Cup best-of-seven semifinals, securing a crucial 87-80 victory at the Dasmariñas Arena in Cavite on Wednesday night.

Right from the start, the Bolts set the tempo by limiting the Kings to only 18 points in the first quarter and 16 in the second. They maintained their control throughout the game, ultimately taking a 2-1 series lead.

Coach Luigi Trillo’s team executed an impressive defensive strategy, effectively shutting down key Ginebra players, including Christian Standhardinger, who was held to just 10 points after a stunning 41-point performance in the previous game.

Both Scottie Thompson and Stanley Pringle struggled to make a significant impact as the Bolts continued to dictate the pace of the game, building on their previous win of 103-91.

Trillo acknowledged his team’s success in disrupting Ginebra’s game plan but anticipated a tougher challenge in the upcoming games.

“We can’t have a letdown. We have to focus, do it not one time but multiple times. Kailangan matapatan namin ang ginagawa nila,” said Trillo.

“And it’s not a simple effort, we have to double our effort,” he added.

In their latest victory, Meralco displayed dominance, enjoying leads of up to 17 points. Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome led the charge, with Maliksi scoring 16 points, including three three-pointers, and Newsome adding 14 points along with six assists and four rebounds.

Bong Quinto also made an impact with 10 points, going two-of-two from beyond the arc, while Chris Banchero, Cliff Hodge, and Raymond Almazan each contributed at least eight points.

The Meralco starting lineup worked cohesively to establish an early double-digit lead, which they successfully defended until the final buzzer.

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