The Meralco Bolts held off a resilient San Miguel Beer team to secure a hard-fought 92-89 victory in their PBA On Tour matchup on June 10 at the Tiaong Convention Center.
Allein Maliksi played a crucial role for the Bolts, stepping up in the clutch with 21 points, including a pivotal scoring spree that gave Meralco a six-point advantage, 90-84, with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Maliksi’s timely baskets provided the separation the Bolts needed to hold off the Beermen’s comeback attempts.
Meralco’s Raymond Almazan contributed significantly with 14 points and an impressive double-double performance of 14 rebounds. Bong Quinto also made his presence felt with 19 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Anjo Caram showcased his playmaking skills, chipping in 11 points and seven assists. The Bolts showcased their depth and resilience as multiple players stepped up to fill the void left by several absences.
Despite missing key players, the San Miguel Beermen put up a valiant effort. Marvin Lee, who hopes to secure a spot on the Beermen roster for the upcoming 48th season, had a standout game with 18 points, including an impressive 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
Jericho Cruz led the Beermen in scoring with 19 points, while Allyn Bulanadi also contributed 18 points. However, the Beermen struggled to find consistent production from the rest of their lineup, resulting in a close defeat.
Meralco’s victory marked their third win in four games during the exhibition series, serving as a valuable dress rehearsal under new coach Luigi Trillo. The Bolts demonstrated resilience and composure down the stretch, withstanding San Miguel’s late surge to secure the win. Jansen Rios played a crucial defensive role, blocking Allyn Bulanadi’s potential game-tying three-point shot in the final seconds.
San Miguel, on the other hand, suffered back-to-back losses and now holds a 2-3 record in the PBA On Tour campaign. The absence of Terrence Romeo, who was reported to be “under the weather,” added to the challenges faced by the Beermen in this contest. Despite the setbacks, the team remains optimistic and looks to bounce back in the remainder of the exhibition series.
As the PBA On Tour continues, both teams will seek further improvements and adjustments to fine-tune their strategies ahead of the upcoming regular season. The intense competition and high-stakes battles in these exhibition games serve as valuable opportunities for players and coaches to evaluate their strengths and address areas of improvement.
The fans in attendance at the Tiaong Convention Center witnessed a thrilling matchup between the Bolts and Beermen, highlighting the talent and competitiveness of PBA basketball. With the regular season drawing closer, the teams will aim to build on their performances, solidify their rosters, and make their mark in the upcoming 48th season of the league.
MERALCO 92—Maliksi 21, Quinto 19, Almazan 14, Caram 11, Pascual 8, Pasaol 5, Rios 4, Jose 3, Johnson 3, Hodge 2, Torres 2.
SAN MIGUEL 89—Cruz 19, Lee 18, Bulanadi 18, Brondial 14, Tautuaa 12, Saldua 6, Lazarte 2, Baclao 0, Faundo 0.
Quarters: 25-24, 47-46, 69-73, 92-89.