[by Andrei de Guzman]
In spite of having a depleted roster, the Meralco Bolts fought their way back in the series after outlasting the Magnolia Hotshots, 91-86, in Game 3 of the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup Semifinals inside the Don Honorio Ventura State University Gym in Bacolor, Pampanga today.
Without the service of starting center Raymond Almazan who suffered from a right ankle injury, the daunting Bolts were unfazed on the pressure that the Hotshots imposed in the matchup, as they trimmed the series lead to 2-1 in the best-of-seven round.
Chris Newsome hauled a team-high 17 markers, which was highlighted by a pull-up jumper to lock Meralco’s margin to five with less than seconds left in the game. Meanwhile, Nards Pinto and Mac Bello combined for 30 points as primary supports for their undermanned squad.
Head coach Norman Black shuffled his frontcourt deck in order to fill Almazan’s absence, as back ups Nonoy Baclao and Anjo Caram came up huge to help the Bolts evade a 3-0 hole.
MERALCO 91 – Newsome 17, Pinto 16, Belo 14, Baclao 10, Maliksi 9, Quinto 8, Caram 8, Hodge 7, Hugnatan 2
MAGNOLIA 86 – Lee 18, Sangalang 15, Abueva 12, Dela Rosa 10, Jalalon 9, Dionisio 8, Ahanmisi 8, Corpuz 2, Barroca 2, Reavis 2, Melton 0
Quarterscores: 24-14, 47-37, 73-54, 91-86 #DM