Bolts outlast Beermen, take 2-1 Finals series lead

In a thrilling showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, June 9, Chris Newsome showcased his leadership and clutch performance, guiding the Bolts to a 93-89 victory over the San Miguel Beermen in Game 3 of the best-of-seven Finals series in the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup.

With memories of their Game 2 loss still fresh, Meralco found themselves behind as the Beermen took the lead 89-88. However, Newsome rose to the occasion, sinking a crucial three-pointer from the right corner to regain the lead for the Bolts. He then sealed the deal with two decisive free throws, securing the win for his team.

With this win, Meralco now holds a 2-1 series lead and will look to extend their advantage to 3-1 in Game 4 on Wednesday, June 12, at the same venue.

Newsome, who had a slow start with just six points in the first two quarters, exploded in the second half, finishing with an impressive 26 points and leading a well-rounded offensive effort by the Bolts.

Supporting Newsome’s stellar performance were Raymond Almazan, who recorded a double-double with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Bong Quinto, who contributed 16 points. Cliff Hodge added 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Chris Banchero orchestrated the offense with 10 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

Notably, Meralco’s defense played a crucial role in their victory, particularly in limiting SMB’s main man, June Mar Fajardo, to just five field goal attempts and forcing him into seven turnovers.

Despite a strong showing from Mo Tautuaa with 19 points and CJ Perez with 18, the Beermen were unable to overcome Meralco’s resolute defense and balanced scoring.

Furthermore, Meralco adjusted effectively to SMB’s bench players, who had kept them in the game earlier on. By containing key contributors like Tautuaa, Jeron Teng, and Jericho Cruz, the Bolts were able to stifle the Beermen’s bench production and secure the crucial win.

In a nail-biting final quarter, Quinto’s three-pointer provided Meralco with a four-point lead, only for Fajardo and Perez to respond and put SMB ahead.

However, Newsome’s heroics and Meralco’s tenacious defense ultimately sealed the victory, as they weathered the storm and emerged victorious in a hard-fought battle.

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