- Sports · College Sports · Basketball · Philippine Basketball Association · Barangay Ginebra San Miguel · Angeles University Foundation · Norman Black · San Miguel Brewery

MERALCO erupted big in the sec­ond half to out­last Barangay Gine­bra San Miguel, 95-77, on Fri­day and level their best- of-five semi­fi­nals se­ries in the Philip­pine Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion Philip­pine Cup at the An­ge­les Univer­sity Foun­da­tion gym in Pampanga on Fri­day.

Chris New­some, Allein Ma­liksi and Baser Amer de­liv­ered the goods in the last two quar­ters to help the Bolts of veteran Head Coach Norman Black buck a lethar­gic first half and tie the best- of-five se­ries at 1-1.

“We just talked about the fact that we could not go down 0-2 be­cause we’ll be hav­ing no chance of com­ing back in this se­ries. So this game is re­ally, re­ally im­por­tant for us,” Black said.

“We found out in Game One ex­actly what we’re up against de­fen­sively and of­fen­sively and we made a few ad­just­ments to try to be able to beat this team tonight,” added Black of their Game One loss, 96-79, last Wed­nes­day.

Trail­ing 42-55 early in the third quar­ter, the Bolts ex­ploded with a cal­cu­lated 23-11 run to seize the lead en­ter­ing the fi­nal pe­riod, 65-61. They un­corked a 30-16 fourth quar­ter kick to wrap up the rout.

New­some, who scored 14 of his 16 points in the sec­ond half on top of six as­sists, gave the Bolts their big­gest lead, 91- 70, with 2: 37 left in the game.

“It’s a great team ef­fort to­day. I think a lot of guys came out and gave a lot of en­ergy which is im­por­tant for us, and of course we want to fo­cus on our de­fense and that showed to­day,” New­some said.

Kier John Quinto added 14 points, 10 he made in the sec­ond quar­ter, while Ma­liksi poured in 11 of his 14 points in the last two quar­ters for the Bolts, who also drew dou­ble- dou­ble per­for­mances from big men Cliff Hodge and 6-foot-7 Ray­mond Al­mazan.

Hodge had 12 points and 11 re­bounds, while Al­mazan made 11 points and as many re­bounds. Amer made eight of his 10 points in the last quar­ter.

De­spite com­ing off a te­dious quar­ter­fi­nals where they de­throned San Miguel Beer, Meralco played well to forge the dead­lock.

“There’s no ques­tion about that, but every­body is tired at this point,” Black said. “The

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