by Bryle Suralta
Meralco capitalized on another solid outing from their locals as the Bolts shut down the Gin Kings, 107-103, last Wednesday night to retake the series advantage in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Governor’s Cup Finals in front of a large crowd at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Another great showing for the Bolts’ locals as Reynel Hugnatan, Jimmy Alapag and Chris Newsome scored a combined 57 points in the contest. While import Allen Durham also put up epic numbers by scoring 36 points and grabbing 20 boards to lead the way for the Bolts.
But it was Hugnatan who stood out among the rest as the veteran put on a three-point shooting clinic down the stretch.
Hugnatan hit three three-pointers in the closing minutes, including a marker that would seal the deal for Meralco.
Jimmy Alapag also found his stroke from deep as the former PBA Most Valuable Player held off the Kings with timely three-point marksmanship throughout the game.
Meanwhile, Ginebra import Justin Brownlee tried to keep the team afloat almost singlehandedly with a monster 42-point performance that led all scorers.
Ginebra starts LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson also chipped in with a couple of buckets, scoring 14 points, 12 points and ten points respectively.
The game went down to the wire as the teams fought for the lead in the closing seconds.
A Brownlee triple off a timeout cut the lead down to just two points, keeping the Kings within striking distance with 11.2 seconds remaining.
But it was Bolts import Allen Durhan that would seal the deal for Meralco, after hitting two of two from the charity stripe.
“It was a game neither team wanted to lose,” said Bolts head coach Norman Black in the post-game press conference.
He added, “We’re getting closer to where we want to be. We really wanted to take Game Three because we felt that would give us an advantage going in further into the series.”
The next game is set on Friday, October 14, as the Kings look to tie the series at two games apiece.
Box score: MERALCO 107 – Durham 36, Newsome 22, Alapag 18, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 6, Faundo 4, Uyloan 3, Amer 1, Al-Hussaini 0, Nabong 0. GINBERA 103 – Brownlee 42, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Thompson 10, Cruz 6, Mariano 0, Devance 5, Mercado 4, Ellis 2, Marcelo 2, Caguiao 0. Quarterscores: 18-20, 48-44, 71-69, 107-103