Meralco leaned on its scrappy defense and red-hot shooting to zap San Miguel Beer, 111-99, in Game 4 of their best-of-seven semifinals series in the 2022 PBA Philippine Cup on Wednesday, Aug. 10, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Allein Maliksi, Aaron Black and Raymond Almazan dazzled in the Bolts’ huge third quarter surge to seize control of the game en route to the coast-to-coast win that equalized the series anew at 2-2.
Meralco unleashed three straight triples early in the third frame – two coming from Maliksi and one from Almazan – triggering a sizzling 20-6 rally that turned a close 58-53 lead at the half into a 78-59 advantage midway through the quarter.
San Miguel managed to string some points and cut the lead down to just 13, 82-69, but another 10-2 spurt bridging the third and final frame proved to be the killing blow as Meralco established a 21-point lead it never relinquished until the final frame.
“We just try to take advantage of some of the things that we saw in Game 3. We made some adjustments on how to attack their defense because their defense has been pretty good so far in the series and it worked for us,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.
“Offensively we were able to get the ball to our bigs. Our bigs had a lot of confidence tonight. They took their shots and they made their shots and that’s really the key. We saw in Game 3 that they are just leaving our bigs wide open so we just have to make sure that they have a lot of confidence when they take the shots,” he added.
Black put up another all-around game with 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Maliksi added 19 points built on four triples. Hodge and Almazan also held their ground against the SMB frontline with 18 points and seven rebounds and 17 points and six rebounds respectively.
It was the first wire-to-wire loss of SMB since its Game 3 defeat against TNT in last season’s PH Cup semis.
Marcio Lassiter topscored for the Beermen with 23 points, while Fajardo posted another double-double effort of 21 points and 13 rebounds which all went down the drain.