Solomon Mercado scored the go-ahead putback in crunch time to deliver Barangay Ginebra to a pulsating 82-79 win over Meralco and equalize the series to 1-1 in Game 2 of the best-of-seven finals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Mercado finished with just 12 points along with six rebounds and four assists while Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings with 32 points plus 12 rebounds, three steals and three assists, and LA Tenorio scored nine points and rookie Earl Scottie Thompson also had nine for Ginebra.
“We had a tough shooting night,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone during the post game interview. “We changed the match ups tonight. I give credit to Sol’s defense on Durham for limiting his touches. We really have to reach deep to break their momentum.”
Meralco’s veteran playmaker Jimmy Alapag now owns the all-time most number of three-point shot made at 1, 243 after hitting a three-pointer—his only shot in the game. Alapag successfully surpassed Allan Caidic’s 1,242 record.
Import Allen Durham led Meralco with 22 points and 15 rebounds plus four assists in Game 2.
Game 3 is set on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Meanwhile, Jayson Castro of Talk ‘N Text claimed the Best Player of the Conference as he registered a leading 38.3 Statistical Points standings (SPs), beating two-time Most Valuable Player 6’10 June Mar Fajardo of San Miguel Beer (37.8 SPs) and GlobalPort’s Terrence Romeo (35.7 SPs).
But overall, the 30-year-old Castro was second only to Fajardo with 33.6 SPs total in three conferences played so far.
Fajardo led the first three conferences with a league-leading 38.8 total SPs, while Romeo stays at third with 33.5 total SPs.
Castro finished the Governor’s Cup elimination round and quarterfinals with 23.1 points, 7.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 16 games played, while Fajardo tallied 18.6 points plus 12.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.
After sending Meralco to a first ever finals appearance, Durham won the Best Import award over Brownlee and Phoenix Petroleum’s Eugene Phelps. Durham averaged 29.4 points per game average long with 15.2 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 17 games played.
Brownlee had an average of 29.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for Ginebra in the last 16 games, while Phelps finished with 36.6 points and 19.5 rebounds in just 10 games played this conference.
Castro and Durham got enough votes from media, players, and the Commissioner’s office to win the awards.