Making good on his promise to play even better, Tony Bishop Jr was relentless on both ends Sunday, leading Meralco to a 101-95 victory over Magnolia, sending the Bolts a win to return to the Finals. PBA Governors Cup.
Bishop picked up 27 points and 10 rebounds while breaking through the defense in another tight game to help Meralco take control of the best series, 2-1, in front of a large crowd at the Mall of Asia Arena. in Pasay.
“At this point of the season, it’s going to go one way or another,” head coach Norman Black said. “I mean, you’re going to get a few wins and go to the final — or you’re going to be out.”
In the night’s final, NLEX avoided elimination after winning 86-85 against defending champion Barangay Ginebra.
Cameron Clark completed the three-point match for the Road Warriors with seven seconds remaining to break an 83-all draw.
“This [game] It’s like a turning point for both teams and we just think it’s going to be a very important game for us — that if we can win the game, it will give us the chance to win. better chance to win the championship,” Black said.
Chris Banchero finished with 23 points – his best offensive attempt since joining Meralco in early February, with five of those coming during the payback period, where he shook hands with Bishop and the team. Head Chris Newsome to create a 95-85 advantage with left 4:33.
Jio Jalalon then hit a tough treble and then transitioned from the charity strip to making fun things for Magnolia go at the last minute. But a cunning Newsome layman and a stealing Bishop stole the chance of the top seeds.
Meralco will have a chance to close the door against Hotshots, the runners-up in the last Philippine Cup, when the series resumes on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra got its second spot in the top seven also on Wednesday.
But Black believes there is much to be desired from his performance.
“We had a pretty good start, but we stumbled a bit in the first half, and in the end they took the lead,” he said.
“I’m happy we won, but I don’t think we played great tonight. I think there was a time when we didn’t perform well. Our defense was pretty good, but it wasn’t as good as the last game,” he continued.
“We’re going to have to go back and watch the tape again, see what we did well and see what we did bad.”
Import Mike Harris led on Magnolia with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Mark Barroca and Ian Sangalang added 15 and 14 respectively, but went out of business during the payback period.
Jalalon finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals in a game that Magnolia hopes will make up for Paul Lee’s forgettable performance. Lee played with a bum ankle.
“I fought [through] Sprained ankle, I don’t want to use that as an excuse but it keeps bothering me,” said Lee, who was only 5 points in Game 3.
“The coaches have reminded us to keep honing. We have two days to prepare for game 4. We still have a chance.” INQ
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