Maliksi, Newsome catch fire as Meralco pounds Phoenix for bounce-back win
Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome spearheaded the offensive charge as Meralco rebounded big at the expense of Phoenix, 91-80, in the 2021 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday night, July 28 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Maliksi hit 24 points and Newsome fired 23 markers as the Bolts bounced back from an 85-72 defeat to Rain or Shine last Saturday while forging a three-way deadlock with the Elasto Painters and San Miguel Beermen at 3-1.
The 6-foot-2 combo guard Newsome also finely orchestrated Meralco's attack with his seven assists on top of six steals and four rebounds.
"I understand that my team looks up to me for a lot of different things so it's not just about being a vocal leader but I have to lead by example," said Newsome.
"Coach Norman (Black) tells me this all the time that I have to lead the team by example and that's what I want to do, not just on one end but on both ends," he added.
Reynel Hugnatan and John Pinto added 11 points apiece for the Bolts who remained determined to clinch their bounce-back win despite a threat of reset during the second quarter due to leakage at the venue caused by heavy downpour.
Up 33-26 at the continuation of play with four minutes left in the first half, Meralco started to pull away and sustained its momentum coming off the break for a 53-34 lead early in the third quarter.
Matthew Wright, who returned from an ankle sprain injury, sparked a 19-8 run to cut Phoenix's deficit down to 53-61 at the 3:34 mark of the third frame.
But Maliksi and Newsome joined forces to push the Bolts back ahead by double digits, 73-57, heading to the payoff period.
Meralco never lost control of a twin-digit advantage from there as Maliksi sank a hook shot for their largest cushion at 84-63 with nine minutes remaining.
Wright scored a game-high 29 points but his effort was not enough to save the Fuel Masters from skidding to 1-3.
Vic Manuel and RJ Jazul had 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the loss for the Topex Robinson-coached squad.
MERALCO 91– Maliksi 24, Newsome 23, Pinto 11, Hugnatan 11, Belo 9, Almazan 3, Hodge 7, Black 3, Quinto 0, Jackson 0, Cañete 0, Jamito 0
PHOENIX 80– Wright 29, Manuel 13, Jazul 12, Perkins 9, , Chua 4 , Pascual, 4, Demusis 3, Garcia 3, Faundo 2, Banchero 1, Muyang 0, Melecio 0, Rios 4
Quarters: 21-16, 48-32, 73-57, 91-76