Allein Maliksi made a triumphant return to his alma mater as he led the Meralco Bolts to a resounding wire-to-wire victory over old rivals Barangay Ginebra in the PBA On Tour at the UST Gym.
Maliksi’s stellar performance, including three three-pointers and a team-high 23 points on top of seven rebounds, fueled Meralco’s 106-103 win in this highly anticipated preseason matchup presented by Arena Plus and sponsored by Bingo Plus.
Meralco’s victory halted Barangay Ginebra’s three-game winning streak in the PBA On Tour. The win improved Meralco’s preseason record to 5-3, while Ginebra now stands at 4-4.
The Bolts received an explosive outing from Bong Quinto, who drained five three-pointers en route to 22 points. Raymond Almazan contributed a double-double performance with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while Cliff Hodge provided a significant boost.
Meralco bounced back from their previous loss to the Magnolia Hotshots, emerging victorious against their long-standing tormentors.
From the start, Maliksi and Quinto set the tone for Meralco, combining 26 points in the first half. The Bolts entered halftime with a comfortable 57-46 lead. They had established a 19-point advantage early on before settling for an 11-point margin after 24 minutes of play.
Meralco’s dominance extended beyond scoring as they torched Ginebra from beyond the arc. The Bolts connected on 15-of-36 three-point attempts, while Ginebra struggled, converting only 5-of-22 shots from downtown.
Additionally, Meralco outrebounded Ginebra, 49-36, with Almazan and Hodge leading the charge on the boards.
Von Pessumal led the way for Barangay Ginebra with 26 points, followed by Jeremiah Gray with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Sidney Onwubere and Jonathan David reached double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Aljon Mariano, returning to his old stomping grounds, contributed eight points, four rebounds, and one assist.
“It was a good homecoming for Allein,” commented Meralco coach Luigi Trillo. “Good for Allein. Good for (Aljun) Mariano. I’m sure they have fond memories here.”
Quinto’s sharp shooting from beyond the arc complemented Maliksi’s efforts, while Hodge, Frankie Johnson, and Almazan contributed double-digit scoring outputs.
Von Pessumal led Ginebra’s offensive charge with a game-high 26 points, supported by Jeremiah Gray’s 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Meralco’s victory showcased their dominance over Ginebra, demonstrating their resilience and potential as they seek success in the upcoming season.
The Bolts’ impressive performance and the triumphant return of Maliksi on his home court left a lasting impression on the fans. They gave them a glimpse of what to expect in the PBA’s highly anticipated battles.
The box scores:
MERALCO 106 — Maliksi 23, Quinto 22, Johnson 14, Hodge 15, Almazan 13, Rios 6, Dario 5, Pascual 4, Jose 2, Torres 2, Pasaol 0.
GINEBRA 93 — Pessumal 26, Gray 15, Onwubere 14, David 12, R.Aguilar 8, Mariano 8, Pinto 5, Aurin 3, Gumaru 2, Dillinger 0, Espanola 0.
Quarters: 37-21, 57-46, 91-76, 106-93.