Forward Reynel Hugnatan scored five three-pointers to power Meralco’s 119-113 win over Talk ‘N Text in Game 3 of the best-of-five semifinals of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Governors’ Cup at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday.
Hugnatan notched 14 of his 21 points in the second half on top of four rebounds, while import Allen Durham finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and five assists to lead the Bolts.
“Coach Norman (Black) encourages me to just shoot threes if I am open. I’m just practicing that. I’m thankful to coach,” Hugnatan told The Manila Times.
“I considered it a great team effort from Meralco. I couldn’t get proud of my players for getting over the hump. This is a crucial win for us, it’s not over yet,” said Meralco coach Norman Black during the post game interview.
Veteran point guard Jimmy Alapag had 17 points, rookie Chris Newsome contributed 16 points and eight assists, Cliff Hodge 13 points and rookie Baser Amer 12 points also for the Bolts.
Jayson Castro led Talk ‘N Text with 28 points and 10 assists.
Durham ignited a 10-2 run in the later part of the first quarter to establish a 24-17 lead for Meralco. The Bolts stretched the lead 28-23, by the end of first period.
De Ocampo’s back-to-back triple reduced Meralco’s advantage, 42-45, with only four minutes left in the game.
Import Mychal Lemar Ammons stepped up in the third period scoring 10 points on 3-of-4 shooting to support Castro’s nine points.
Talk ‘N Text finally seized the lead, 84-79, behind Fonacier’s three-pointer. Jonathan Uyloan’s trey cut the deficit to just two at the end of third period, 82-84.
The Bolts launched a crucial 11-2 run highlighted by Alapag’s three-pointer resulting in a 115-111 advantage with 1:09 left.
Ammons managed to close the gap 113-115, with still 46 seconds remaining in the game but Hodge foiled his potential game-tying shot.
Newsome and Durham hit all four free throws in the dying seconds securing Meralco’s victory.
Meanwhile, Barangay Ginebra is bent on dethroning reigning champion San Miguel Beer by bagging the first final slot in Game 4 at 6:30 p.m. today, also at the same venue
The Gin Kings took Game 3, 97-96, behind Japeth Aguilar’s winning jumper.
“Closing out an opponent in a series is always hard, closing out an opponent like San Miguel Beer will be incredibly tough, almost hard to imagine. But we are determined. We know the danger of having to go to a Game 5 with them. We need to go all out,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone told The Times via text message.
Ginebra took Game 1 (115-108) but San Miguel Beer ruled Game 2 (95-92).