Meralco hurdled one obstacle after another and gutted out a 102-98 Game 5 victory over Magnolia on Wednesday to live another day in the PBA Philippine Cup semifinals at Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor, Pampanga.
Allein Maliksi bucked shaky first-half shooting, while Nards Pinto turned in a career game to overcome Chris Newsome’s exit and hold off the Hotshots’ fight back down the stretch that cut the Hotshots’ best-of-seven series lead to 3-2.
“It was a very gutsy performance on the part of my players—to go out and battle the entire game,” said coach Norman Black, whose charges also battled from 11 points down on the way to necessitating a Game 6.
“We also fought a Magnolia team on a good [day],” he went on. “But we stood our ground. We made some big shots down the stretch which was very, very important. We kept our composure and gave…