Sharp-shooting Allein Maliksi and import Tony Bishop imposed their presence in the second and third quarters as they carried the Meralco Bolts to a 104-91 stunning of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Gin Kings in Game 1 on Wednesday evening at the Araneta Coliseum.
The 6’4” Maliksi sank 10 of his 22-point game-high tally in the second period to help the Bolts take control as they claimed the early lead in their 2022 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup best-of-seven finals series.
Bishop unloaded 12 points during another scoring run in the third period, as the Bolts maintained their double-digit edge and gave the Meralco the momentum going into Game 2 on Friday.“
“Everything for us is about defense and trying to slow them down offensively. And tonight, so far so good. Now, it’s on to Game 2. It will be exciting,” said Bolts’ coach Norman Black.
The 32-year-old Maliksi led the Bolts’ breakaway when he banged in two of his five triples during a 17-5 run that pushed Meralco from a four-point edge, 34-30, to a 47-35 spread in the 2:47 mark.
After that, Bishop took over, scoring 12 points in the third, knocking in 10 as the Bolts erupted with a 13-0 blast and put Meralco on top by 18, 78-60, at the end of the period.
“So, in the first part, the locals carried us for the most part. In the second half, Tony Bishop stepped up, and made some big shots,” said Black.
The Bolts will have confidence on their side going into Game 2 on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Justin Brownlee, who was limited two points in the first period, topscored with 27 points for the Gin Kings, down from his personal best of 47 when he powered Ginebra to the finals last Friday.
Christian Standhardinger shot 20 points, while Scottie Thompson added 19 for Ginebra, which shot 31 of 81 field attempts.
The Bolts, with Raymund Almazan contributing 10, scored better on 41 of 81 tries.