Allen Durham and Reynel Hugnatan carried cudgels for the Meralco Bolts who finally got on board in the Oppo PBA Governors’ Cup finals after a 94-81 Game Three win over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Wednesday at SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Durham finished with another monster game of 38 points, 20 rebounds, four assists and five blocks while Hugnatan tallied 22 points spiked by seven triples.
The two sparked a 19-4 finishing kick that pummeled the Gin Kings in the end-game and helped Bolts trim their series deficit to 2-1.
Things weren’t looking good for the Bolts early in the game as the Gin Kings got off to a 14-5 start.
Anjo Caram provided some spark off the bench, scoring seven points in the opening period as Meralco tied the game at 21-all in the first period.
But Meralco took a hit as Ranidel De Ocampo strained his left calf in the opening frame. After just over three minutes of action, he never returned to the game.
De Ocampo’s sudden absence paved the way for more minutes for Hugnatan who stunned the Gin Kings with his three-point shooting. His explosion, along with Durham’s dominance inside, allowed the Bolts to fight tooth and nail against the Gin Kings.
Meralco finally pulled away in the fourth quarter. Trailing 77-75 with six minutes left, Durham and Hugnatan ignited Meralco’s late-game rally which Ginebra couldn’t douse.
With the Bolts enjoying a huge lead with under a minute left, Meralco decided to still call a timeout–a move that didn’t amuse Ginebra coach Tim Cone.
During the last 38 seconds of the game, Cone just stared at the Meralco bench. He also refused to shake hands with Meralco counterpart Norman Black after the game.
MERALCO 94 – Durham 38, Hugnatan 22, Dillinger 9, Lanete 8, Caram 7, Newsome 7, Hodge 3, Amer 0, De Ocampo 0, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0.
GINEBRA 81 – Brownlee 15, Tenorio 14, Aguilar J. 14, Slaughter 12, Thompson 10, Devance 8, Caguioa 8, Mercado 0, Ferrer 0.
Quarters: 21-21, 46-47, 66-64, 94-81.