By Adrian Stewart Co
Meralco Bolts halted San Miguel Beermen’s (SMB) five-year reign with a 90-68 domination in the do-or-die quarterfinals of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday night at the AUF Sports Arena & Cultural Center in Pampanga.
Baser Amer and Clifford Hodge tallied 14 points each, while Bacolodnon center Reynel Hugnatan added 12 markers and eight rebounds and Allein Maliksi contributed 11 points for the Bolts.
The No. 5 seed Meralco, which overcame the twice-to-beat quarterfinals incentive of the No. 4 ranked San Miguel, will next face Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Kings in the best-of-five semifinals beginning tomorrow.
The Bolts surged to a 16-6 start with conversions from Amer, Hugnatan and Chris Newsome. The lead grew to 40-18 on hits from Maliksi and Hodge but the Beermen managed to cut it to 31-43 at the half.
San Miguel Beer continued its rally in the third period as they came as close as 37-43 but Meralco answered with conversions from Amer, Maliksi, Kier John Quinto and Raymond Almazan to widen the advantage to 75-50.
The Bolts went on to build its largest lead of the match at 80-52 early in the fourth following a basket from Aaron Black. The Beermen tried to fight back but Meralco has quick response to preserve the win.
Moala Tautuaa and Marcio Lassiter finished with 20 points each, while Arwind Santos added 10 markers as the Beermen, which played in the bubble without June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo, ended up at fifth place.
MERALCO 90 – Hodge 14, Amer 14, Hugnatan 12, Maliksi 11, Newsome 9, Quinto 9, Black 9, Almazan 8, Jamito 2, Jackson 2, Jose 0, Salva 0, Pinto 0, Caram 0.
SAN MIGUEL 68 – Tautuaa 20, Lassiter 20, Santos 10, Ross 7, Cabagnot 6, Zamar 3, Alolino 2, Pessumal 0, Escoto 0, Gamalinda 0, Comboy 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11, 43-31, 75-50, 90-68./ASC, WDJ