Meralco pulls off Game 1 shocker vs San Miguel

Meralco pulls off Game 1 shocker vs San Miguel

Meralco knows from harrowing experiences in the past that winning Game 1 of a PBA championship series is no assurance of a beautiful ending.

And for the Bolts to produce three more victories after defeating the San Miguel Beermen, 93-86, in the opener of the Philippine Cup Finals on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum, they’ll need everyone to be like their favored opponent.

That is for everyone to be capable of delivering when their number is called.

“We’re not gonna beat San Miguel with two or three guys,” coach Luigi Trillo said. “This San Miguel has so many weapons so we need everybody on board.”

They’re three wins short of fulfilling their ultimate mission of bringing a PBA championship to the Meralco compound in Ortigas, but the Bolts have finished short of that goal before—twice.

Meralco reached the Finals of the 2016 and 2022 Governors’ Cup, eventually losing to Barangay Ginebra in six games each.

“Winning Game 1 is always a big help,” Chris Newsome said. “But by no means we’re happy or we’re satisfied. It’s just one game.”

Newsome along with Chris Banchero, one of the principal figures in the deciding Game 7 semifinal triumph over Barangay Ginebra five days ago in San Jose, Batangas, scored 18 points apiece, with plenty of help along the way.

Defensive stand

The offense played complementary to the defensive stand the Bolts put up in the fourth quarter, eventually pulling away with multiple stops that led to fastbreak opportunities.

Offensive rebounds also led to second chances which also hastened the doom of the Beermen, who played for the first time in almost two weeks.

Cliff Hodge, Allein Maliksi, Raymond Almazan, Brandon Bates, Anjo Caram, Bong Quinto and even Norbert Torres and Kyle Pascual came through as well on both ends, some of which did not reflect on the hard or short copies of the game’s official stats sheet.

But whether it is rust, or just a case of needing more time to eventually figure out a way to make up for their shortcomings, the Beermen are expected to bounce back.

Game 2 is set on Friday at the same venue as Trillo, active consultant Nenad Vucinic and the rest of the coaching staff plot their move in their bid to go two up over the Beermen.

“This team is a championship team, they’re a dynasty and they are capable of doing amazing things so you know you can never count this team out,” Newsome said.

Meanwhile, The PBA is taking more into consideration than just how it will celebrate its 50th anniversary. It will be implementing significant changes that will make an impact on how the league will run starting next season, which tips off in August.

“Talagang new look ang gusto nating gawin (We’re going after a new look),” league commissioner Willie Marcial said at a press conference held before Wednesday’s Game 1.

Reformatted conference

One change, Marcial bared, will be the Governors’ Cup opening the season, and the tournament will see the 12-member participants split into two groups with a double-round schedule followed by a crossover playoffs.

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The midseason Commissioner’s Cup, meanwhile, will allow teams to tap imports with unlimited height, much unlike the aforementioned Governors’ Cup which, will have a maximum limit of 6-foot-6.

And Marcial said the league is in talks with an undisclosed foreign team for its possible participation in the second conference. If the invited team agrees to see action here, each PBA ballclub may eventually get two imports to reinforce their respective campaigns.