Meralco Bolts cap historic run, claim first PBA Philippine Cup title in dramatic finals

In a historic night of basketball, the Meralco Bolts dethroned the San Miguel Beermen with a dramatic 80-78 victory in Game 6 of the 2024 PBA Philippine Cup Finals on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This triumph marks Meralco’s first-ever PBA championship, ending years of struggle, failures, and heartaches.

Chris Newsome, despite struggling throughout the game with a 3-of-16 shooting performance, hit the biggest shot of his career. With the game tied at 78 following a late three-pointer by June Mar Fajardo, Newsome sank a fall-away jumper over defender Don Trollano with 3.3 seconds remaining, sealing the victory for the Bolts.

Newsome’s heroics earned him the Finals MVP award, thanks to his consistent performance throughout the series. He finished Game 6 with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals. His leadership and clutch play were pivotal in Meralco’s journey to the top.

Allein Maliksi also played a crucial role, contributing 14 points, while Bong Quinto added 11 points. Chris Banchero scored 10 points, and Raymond Almazan chipped in with nine. Cliff Hodge, Anjo Caram, and Norbert Torres each added six points, showcasing the team effort that powered Meralco to victory.

The Bolts came out strong, taking control early with a 29-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. They extended their advantage to as many as 17 points in the first half. However, San Miguel, led by the relentless Fajardo, mounted a furious comeback in the second half.

Fajardo, who finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds, nearly forced a Game 7 with his late-game heroics. His five-point burst in the final 29 seconds, including a three-pointer that tied the game at 78, brought the Beermen within reach.

Despite this, Newsome’s game-winning shot dashed San Miguel’s hopes and sent Meralco’s fans into a frenzy.

San Miguel fought valiantly to defend their title. CJ Perez added 14 points, Marcio Lassiter scored 11, and Mo Tautuaa contributed 10 points. Terrence Romeo, Don Trollano, and Simon Enciso provided support off the bench, but their efforts fell just short.

With this victory, Meralco clinched the best-of-seven series 4-2, securing their first championship since joining the PBA in 2010. The Bolts’ tenacity and determination throughout the series culminated in a well-deserved win, etching their name in PBA history.

As the Bolts celebrate their historic triumph, the Beermen will reflect on a hard-fought series and prepare to come back stronger next season. For now, Meralco can bask in the glory of their first PBA Philippine Cup title, a testament to their perseverance and team spirit.