22 November 2014

Bolts 109,Ginebra 99

Clifford Hodge
Veteran Reynel Hugnatan connected on a jumper with 57 seconds remaining to help the Meralco Bolts thwart a late Ginebra San Miguel comeback, 109-99, on Friday (21 November 2014) at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Hugnatan's exploit came after Meralco used a huge 15-0 second-quarter run. Cliff Hodge and Mark Macapagal backstopped a furious start in the second period to turn a 24-26 deficit into a 39-26 lead. They also combined for 17 of the 29 second-quarter points for the Bolts, who never looked back as Ginebra’s several late runs sputtered.

It was Meralco’s first-ever win at the Ynares Center in eight games, and they did it in front of a pro-Ginebra crowd at the Rizal capital which hosted its first PBA game in two years.

Meralco, which scored its fourth win in seven games, snapped a three-game skid and moved in a tie for fifth place with Talk ’N Text and Globalport.

"We are pretty used being undersized," said Meralco head coach Norman Black. "I'm glad players came out with a lot of effort today. I was disappointed with our effort in Davao. But tonight, the guys bounced back and showed they have a lot of heart."

Meralco entered the halftime break with a comfortable nine-point lead, 53-44. The lead stretched to 12 early in the third after a Hodge basket, before Greg Slaughter went to work in the shaded lane. The big man scored 16 in the period, as Ginebra closed out the third with a 9-0 run, capped by a Joseph Yeo conversion, 81-77.

However, Meralco handled the pressure well and shot better, making 50 percent of its shots (39-of-78) from the field against 42 percent by the Gins.

"Playing against Ginebra is always difficult because they are big and talented but what made it easier was our shots were falling. That is something that has not been happening this entire conference," said Black.

Hodge had 11 of his 18 points in the second quarter, including a perfect 3-of-3 from threes. Macapagal also added 18 while Gary David had 16, including 11 in the fourth period to help the Bolts maintain their lead.

The Gins lost for the second straight time and now hold a 5-3 win-loss card but remained in third place. The closest Ginebra got was at 103-99 but Greg Slaughter missed an easy putback that led to a Hugnatan jumper.

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