From EASL underdogs to PBA Champions: Meralco wins PBA Philippine Cup

June 17, 2024

6 mins

From EASL underdogs to PBA Champions: Meralco wins PBA Philippine Cup
From EASL underdogs to PBA Champions: Meralco wins PBA Philippine Cup

Written by EASL

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chris Newsome's fadeaway jumper secures Bolts' first-ever PBA title

The Meralco Bolts clinched their first-ever Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) title by defeating the San Miguel Beermen last Sunday, securing the PBA Philippine Cup with a 4-2 victory.

Chris Newsome was named the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup Most Valuable Player after averaging 22.5 points in the series.

The journey to the Finals

The Meralco Bolts came into the 2024 Philippine Cup fresh from representing the PBA in the EASL 2023-24 Season, finishing with a 1-5 record. Their lone win came in Macau against the 2023 B.LEAGUE Champions, the Ryukyu Golden Kings, in an overtime thriller.

The team had a slow start to the Philippine Cup, winning only one of their opening four contests. After splitting their following four games, the Bolts found their stride, winning their final three games in the Elimination Round to finish as the third seed, with a 6-5 record.

In the quarterfinals, the Bolts swiftly dealt with the NLEX Road Warriors, sweeping the sixth seed in two games.

Then came PBA juggernauts the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the semifinals. The teams traded blows early, and the Bolts found themselves facing elimination, down 3-2 going into Game 6.

But Meralco defeated Ginebra in consecutive victories, marching on to the finals for just the fifth time in team history.

The San Miguel Beermen started Philippine Cup red hot, winning their first 10 games of the Elimination Round. Their streak was broken by Meralco in their final Elimination Round game, resulting in a 10-1 record, enough for first seed going into the playoffs.

In the twice-to-beat quarterfinals against Terrafima Dyip, the Beermen dropped Game 1 but recovered to win Game 2 to advance to the semifinals.

Against the fifth seed Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in the semis, San Miguel cruised through with a four-game sweep, advancing to their 45th finals appearance.

How did the Finals pan out?

Game 1: San Miguel Beermen 86-93 Meralco Bolts

The finals were played in the historic Smart Araneta Coliseum in Manila.

Trailing by seven at halftime, the Meralco Bolts came out hot in the second half, with Chris Newsome nailing a three-point play and Bong Quinto hitting back-to-back treys.

Meralco still trailed going into the fourth, but the team outscored San Miguel by nine in the final frame, taking the first game 93-86.

Chris Newsome and Chris Banchero each had a game-high 18 points to lead the Bolts to victory.

Game 2: Meralco Bolts 94-95 San Miguel Beermen

CJ Perez had a massive game for the Beermen, putting out a game-high 34 points.

But San Miguel still trailed by two with 14 seconds to play.

Marcio Lassiter played hero with a massive three to put the Beermen ahead and help tie the series at one apiece.

Game 3: San Miguel Beermen 89-93 Meralco Bolts

Another close encounter saw Chris Newsome deliver a cold-blooded performance with a game-high 26 points. This included an important go-ahead three to put the Bolts up two with 34 seconds to go.

Newsome would hit back-to-back free throws to ice the game, 93-89, and give the Bolts a 2-1 advantage.

Game 4: Meralco Bolts 101-111 San Miguel Beermen

Chris Newsome delivered a valiant effort with a career-high 40 points. But it was not enough, as the Bolts could not stop the newly-minted Conference MVP June Mar Fajardo’s 28-point performance, leading the Beermen to a 10-point, 111-101 victory.

The Bolts shot just three-for-21 (14 percent) from beyond the arc, and couldn’t claw themselves back as the Beermen tied the series at two.

Game 5: San Miguel Beermen 88-92 Meralco Bolts

Fajardo had another massive performance with a 38-point, 18-rebound effort. But Meralco got contributions from their entire team, with four players hitting double-figures to take the game 92-88.

Allein Maliksi scored 22 points off the bench, including a crucial layup to give the Bolts a 10-point cushion late in the fourth. The Beermen came back with an 8-0 run, but Newsome iced the game with two free throws to put the Bolts a game away from winning their first title since they entered the league 14 years ago.

Game 6: Meralco Bolts 80-78 San Miguel Beermen

With a fadeaway seen all across the Philippines, Chris Newsome was the hero once again in the deciding game.

Momentum seemed to have swung San Miguel’s way after Fajardo hit a massive three to tie the game with 3.3 seconds to go.

But Newsome hit a contested fall-away shot, helping Meralco to win their first-ever title in the PBA.

Newsome finished the game with 15 points and was named Finals MVP.

Stat of the Series

Free throw shooting proved pivotal in the series.

The Bolts converted 74 percent of their shots from the charity stripe, while the Beermen shot just 70 percent.

San Miguel missed a costly 56 free throws in the six-game series.

Chris Newsome: 2024 PBA Philippines Cup MVP

Chris Newsome was a man on a mission during the Philippines Cup.

The Bolts’ guard averaged 15.4 points in the Elimination Round. His scoring improved in the quarterfinals, with an average of 17.6 points in seven games against Ginebra.

Newsome raised his game to another level in the Finals, averaging 22.5 points in six games.

Newsome's title-clinching fadeaway jumper will cement his place in Meralco history, as the shot helped the Bolts win their first-ever PBA championship.

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