PBA: In Game One, tenacious Meralco shocks San Miguel with a defeat while, Cliff Hodge’s reverse foul by the referee left CJ Perez perplexed

Jun 6, 2024

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Meralco stunned everyone by defeating San Miguel 93-86 on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to begin the PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup Finals.

In the fourth quarter, the Bolts exploded for a 7-0 run that swung the momentum in their favor. Chris Banchero and Chris Newsome then completed an unexpected victory to set up a best-of-seven series.

The Bolts won their second game in as many meetings with the defending champions, demonstrating their power over the heavily favored Beermen through major plays from Bong Quinto, Allein Maliksi, and Cliff Hodge.

After winning Game One, Meralco coach Luigi Trillo was cautious not to overcelebrate but was sure to recognize the team’s accomplishments.

For the Bolts, Newsome added 18 points and six rebounds in addition to Banchero’s 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Quinto finished with 15 points, including a game-winning slam to give the Bolts a 79-75 lead. Maliksi scored 15 points in the end.

Hodge’s hustle helped the Bolts score some of their points in the closing minutes. In the fourth quarter, he pulled down nine of his 15 rebounds on the offensive glass, giving Meralco numerous opportunity for second chances.

After trailing 51-44 at the half, the Bolts’ defense held the Beermen to 35 points in the second half.

June Mar Fajardo finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds, but Raymond Almazan and Brandon Bates combined for a strong final quarter defense.

Despite having 20 points, CJ Perez was fouled out for the majority of the game and only managed five. The Beermen led 72–70 going into the fourth quarter when Perez made a buzzer-beating layup, but they were unable to maintain the small lead.

The second game is set to take place at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Friday.

The Scores

Meralco 93 – Banchero 18, Newsome 18, Quinto 15, Maliksi 15, Caram 9, Almazan 8, Hodge 7, Bates 2, Pascual 1 Dario 0, Pasaol 0, Jose 0, Torres 0.

San Miguel 86 – Fajardo 23, Perez 20, Lassiter 16, Trollano 9, Tautuaa 5, Cruz 5, Teng 4, Brondial 4, Enciso 0, Ross 0.

Quarter scores: 19-20; 44-51; 70-72; 93-86.

Meanwhile, CJ Perez did not try to disguise how angry he was over the calls that kept him in foul trouble for the most of Game One of the PBA 48th Season Philippine Cup finals. 

Perez managed to finish with 20 points and seven rebounds despite picking up four fouls early in the Beermen’s 93-86 loss to Meralco in the series opener.

After Cliff Hodge, a Meralco bruiser, successfully challenged a blocking foul called on Perez for stepping into the path of the San Miguel star as he drove to the basket, Perez was assessed an offensive foul.

Perez could not figure out the call.

Perez acknowledged that they had also shot themselves in the foot with their subpar performance in the first game, attributing their loss on rebounds by Cliff Hodge in the closing minutes of the game.

The winner of the MVP award in the Finals and the Commissioner’s Cup Best Player of the Conference does not attribute the loss to rust.

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