Meralco Bolts edge closer to first PBA title with thrilling Game 5 win over San Miguel

The Meralco Bolts took a significant step towards securing their first-ever PBA championship by defeating the San Miguel Beermen, 92-88, in a tense Game 5 of the Philippine Cup Season 48 Finals on Friday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Meralco’s triumph was powered by standout performances from Allein Maliksi and Chris Newsome. Maliksi delivered his best performance of the series, scoring 22 points to help the Bolts gain and maintain their lead in this low-scoring battle. Newsome, who had a career-high 40 points in Game 4, matched Maliksi’s 22-point output, including crucial free throws that sealed the game.

The Bolts managed to fend off a late surge from San Miguel, who clawed back with an 8-0 run to narrow the gap to two points. With just 6.2 seconds remaining, Newsome’s calm and collected free throws provided the Bolts with the breathing room needed to secure the win.

Raymond Almazan and Chris Banchero also made significant contributions to the Bolts’ victory. Almazan, bouncing back from a quiet Game 4, scored 14 points, while Banchero added 12 points. This collective effort has positioned Meralco on the brink of their first PBA title since joining the league in 2010.

Despite an impressive 38-point, 18-rebound performance from June Mar Fajardo, and 17 points from CJ Perez, San Miguel fell short in the final moments. Missed free throws in the crucial stages of the game proved costly for the Beermen, who now face elimination in the best-of-seven series.

With a 3-2 series lead, the Bolts have the chance to clinch their maiden PBA championship in Game 6 on Sunday at the Big Dome. The Beermen, on the other hand, will be fighting to force a Game 7 and keep their championship hopes alive.