Meralco takes Game 3 to lead series

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SLAM-BANG Allen Durham of Meralco blocks the shot of Joe Devance of Ginebra during Game 3 of the PBA Governor’s Cup best-of-seven finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

SLAM-BANG Allen Durham of Meralco blocks the shot of Joe Devance of Ginebra during Game 3 of the PBA Governor’s Cup best-of-seven finals at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday. PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

Allen Durham and Reynel Hugnatan joined forces in the payoff period to power Meralco’s 107-103 win over Barangay Ginebra in Game 3 of the best-of-seven finals of the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governor’s Cup on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Down by just four points in the third quarter, Durham notched 12 of his 36 points in the final period on top of 20 rebounds and three assists to allow the Bolts grab the lead, 2-1.

“Basketball is a team game. I have teammates that will step up like Jimmy (Alapag), Chris (Newsome) and Reynel (Hugnatan) that’s why I’m not worried. They are all ultimate gamers and they’re great,” Durham told The Manila Times.

Newsome scored 22 points, while Jimmy Alapag and Reynel Hugnatan posted 17 points apiece also for Meralco.

“It seemed to be a game that neither team wanted to lose,” said Meralco coach Norman Black during the postgame interview. “We’re getting closer to where we want to be, we really wanted to take Game 3—offensively we had a lot more patience.”

Justin Brownlee led Ginebra with 42 points and 13 rebounds.

Game 4 was set on Friday at the same venue.

Aljon Mariano scored a mid-range jumper in the early part of first period resulting in Ginebra’s 20-16 lead with 1:21 left.

But Alapag’s buzzer-beating jumper narrowed the gap, 18-20, at the end of first quarter.

Durham, who won the Governor’s Cup Best import trophy on Sunday, notched 11 of his 20 halftime points in the second quarter. Hodge contributed four points also in that quarter including a three-pointer to help the Bolts lead, 48-44, by the halftime break.

Brownlee, who had 12 points in the first quarter, scored eight points more in the second frame. The Gin Kings forced the Bolts to five turnovers gaining eight points from those errors.

Ginebra had only one turnover after two quarters.

The Bolts were leading, 51-46, early in the third quarter but the Gin Kings responded with a 13-0 run capped by Brownlee’s 10-point output to grab the lead, 57-51, with still 7:44 left.

The Bolts in the last six minutes of the third quarter regained the lead , 73-69.

Ginebra’s LA Tenorio scored a basket in the dying seconds of the third period to cut the deficit, 69-71.

The Bolts’ 7-0 run highlighted by Newsome’s two baskets kept them leading, 78-69, with 9:58 remaining in the game.

Durham secured Meralco’s victory with two free throws, 107-103.

Ginebra failed to score as the final buzzer sounded.

Meralco won Game 1, 114-109, on Friday but Ginebra tied the series with a slim 95-92 win in Game 2.

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