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San Miguel in crucial Game 4 of title series as Meralco leads 2-1

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Game Wednesday(Smart Araneta Coliseum)7:30 p.m. — Meralco vs San Miguel Beer (Finals, Game 4)*Bolts lead series, 2-1

IT’S MERALCO 2, San Miguel Beer (SMB) 1 in the hard-fought PBA Philippine Cup title series.

As good as the count looks, the Bolts don’t feel safe at all. As bad as it appears, the Beermen aren’t rattled.

The two protagonists have been in similar situations before and experienced different endings after the first three matches.

The Meralco Bolts held such an advantage against Barangay Ginebra in the 2016 and 2022 Governors’ Cup finals, only to lose in the end. For their part, the San Miguel Beermen overcame a 1-2 deficit and went on to win the 2011 Governors Cup, 2015 and 2019 Philippine Cup and 2019 Commissioner’s Cup titles.

“We’ve been here before but the result didn’t pan out the way we wanted it to,” Meralco star Chris Newsome, determined to help the Bolts change fortunes this time, get on the hill and send SMB to the brink of dethronement Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Those of us who were there during that 2-1 lead, we’re passing our knowledge now on the things that we could have done better during our 2-1 leads, to capitalize on the situation and turn it into a 3-1 lead,” he added.

But for Meralco to repeat its winning performance in Game 3 (93-89) and meet this objective in the 7:30 p.m. fourth match, it would take another high-powered effort.

“You’re going up against San Miguel, who’s the best team of the decade and they’re playoffs-ready. They’ve been through a lot of series so it’s going to be tough to go up 3-1 against them. Especially after this win by us, they’re going to be hungry. Again, that’s going to be on the veterans in the team to come out and lead,” said Mr. Newsome.

SMB’s proud crew vowed to move heaven and earth to tie it up anew at 2-2.

“Game 4 is crucial,” said CJ Perez, on a personal redemption mission after missing a critical layup in their Game 3 loss.

Halfway on the road to a milestone PBA title, the Bolts expressed readiness to follow through.

“We’ll get them grounded,” said Meralco coach Luigi Trillo.

“We know this team (San Miguel), they’re very capable of coming back and we know they’ve been down before. As for us, we can’t celebrate and we believe we can play better… We’ll be ready (for Game 4).” — Olmin Leyba