June 25, 2024

IN PHOTOS: Meralco smothers San Miguel to draw first blood in PBA Philippine Cup Finals

IN PHOTOS: Meralco smothers San Miguel to draw first blood in PBA Philippine Cup Finals
Meralco rookie Brandon Bates swatted four denials in Game 1 of the PBA Philippine Cup Finals against San Miguel in a fitting follow-up to his massive six-block showing versus Ginebra in Game 7 of the penultimate round. | Photo (c) RM Chua

It was a battle akin to David and Goliath's.

San Miguel, the winningest team in the league with 29 titles, against Meralco, a debutante in the PBA Philippine Cup final stage and gunning for its first-ever title.

The Beermen, who raced to the top with a 10-1 record versus the tenacious Bolts who shook off a shaky start to the conference and clawed their way up to waltz into the Last Dance.

But it was Meralco who dealt San Miguel its sole loss in the eliminations, one that denied the powerhouse squad of a rare sweep.

It was this same tenacity that the Bolts displayed in clamping down the Beermen in Game 1 to gain the headstart in their best-of-seven clash for crown on Wednesday, June 5, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

[RELATED STORY: PBA: June Mar Fajardo lauds Meralco's defense as San Miguel suffers Game 1 loss]

Meralco is out there to prove that defense wins championships, but it is still a long road to the gold.

As San Miguel, winner of the biggest prizes in the biggest stages, is expected to treat its latest loss as just a hiccup.

Photos (c) RM Chua/One Sports

Chris Banchero copped the Player of the Game honors in Meralco's Game 7 semis win over Ginebra and sustained his fine form en route to a Game 1 win in the finals this time against San Miguel.

Chris Newsome joined Chris Banchero in spearheading Meralco's charge.

Bolts coach Luigi Trillo earlier said that Brandon Bates will be a huge factor for the team.

June Mar Fajardo said that Meralco's defense bothered San Miguel, which stumbled to 19 turnovers.

Anjo Caram scored huge baskets and finished with nine points in Game 1.

 

Marcio Lassiter added three treys to his all-time three-point haul.

Rodney Brondial coughed up four points in a little more than 14 minutes of action.

Jericho Cruz was limited to just five points.

Bong Quinto was among the Meralco quartet that connived in its huge Game 1 victory over San Miguel.

 

The Meralco bigs, including Raymond Almazan, got their job done against San Miguel behemoth June Mar Fajardo.