After 14 years of ineffective campaigns, Bolts win the 48th Philippine Cup

Jun 18, 2024

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MANILA, Philippines – In front of a sizable audience at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Sunday night, the Meralco Bolts defeated their formidable rivals, the San Miguel Beermen, with a huge shot from their top gun in the endgame. This marked the end of their lengthy quest for a breakthrough title.

Despite their incredible perseverance and diligence, which saw them lead the game for more than 47 minutes, the Bolts were unable to overcome the Beermen.

With 3.3 seconds remaining, June Mar Fajardo knotted the score with a huge three-pointer, but Chris Newsome defied relentless pressure to make the largest hoop of the series—a fall-away basket that gave the Bolts an 80-78 thriller and the PBA Season 48 Philippine Cup.

After 14 years of hardship, disappointments, and heartaches, Newsome delivered the dagger shot off defender Don Trollano, bringing the Bolts to the summit. Prior to that, he struggled with a 3-of-16 field goal clip.

With 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals in the end, the Gilas stalwart was successful. And the Fil-Am star from Ateneo won the Finals MVP title in recognition of his valiant efforts during their victory in Games One, Three, and Four.

However, he shared the credit with his teammates, who worked tirelessly with him to defeat their fierce opponents and thwart their hopes of winning the whole season.

The league’s championship was taken away from the Beermen by the Bolts after Meralco first stopped San Miguel from sweeping the semifinals with 11 games.

The charges, led by coach Jorge Gallent, were aiming for a double-double season after defeating the Magnolia Hotshots to win the Commissioner’s Cup.

However, coach Luigi Trillo and the Bolts, who were finally on their rendezvous with destiny, were not to be defeated.

With outstanding performances from important players Allein Maliksi, Chris Banchero, Bong Quinto, Raymond Almazan, Brandon Bates, and Cliff Hodge, the Bolts won their first-ever Philippine Cup finals. The team’s historic victory was especially noteworthy in light of a run of heartbreaking losses, which included a four-game loss to the Barangay Ginebra Kings in the Governors’ Cup finals.

Game Five saw the Bolts, who were on the verge of winning a historic title, demonstrate their tenacity with an exciting 92-88 triumph. They established their authority early on, using strong defensive plays and deft offensive moves to take a dominating 29–18 lead in the first quarter. They were able to increase their lead to an incredible 17 points in the first half thanks to their early burst that set the tone for the game.

But the last few seconds of the game saw a spectacular turn of events. The Bolts’ five-point advantage began to erode in the last 29 seconds, despite their impressive effort. With only 3.3 seconds left, Fajardo’s three-pointer knotted the game at 78, putting the Bolts’ chances of winning in jeopardy and perhaps sending it into overtime.

At this crucial point, Chris Newsome came out on top. After suffering four heartbreaking PBA Finals defeats in the past, Newsome was resolved not to let history repeat itself. He made what was maybe the most important shot of his career with unshakable focus and accuracy. This pivotal play not only sealed the victory but sent the Bolts and their devoted fans into a frenzy of joy, turning their long-cherished goal into a reality.

The Bolts’ victory in the Philippine Cup finals is evidence of their tenacity, talent, and unwavering attitude. It is a triumph inscribed in their history, signifying their unwavering quest for excellence in the face of insurmountable obstacles.

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