13 October 2016

Bolts 107, Ginebra 104 (Finals)

Jimmy Alapag
Meralco kept finding ways to break through a stubborn barrier, outlasting Barangay Ginebra, 107-103, in a Game Three shootout to regain the upper hand, 2-1, in the PBA Governors Cup best-of-seven title series at the Smart Araneta Coliseum last 12 October.

The Bolts just didn’t lack the power and resolve, drawing so much of it from Allen Durham, Chris Newsome, Jimmy Alapag and Reynel Hugnatan.

The gritty Meralco quartet all came out firing, striking hardest in the fourth quarter as the Bolts rebounded from their Game Two defeat and regained series control going to Game Four to be ushered in by the Leo Awards at 7:00 P.M. Friday also at the Big Dome.

"It seemed to be a game that neither team wanted to lose to the very end. We really wanted to take Game Three, and we’re now getting closer to where we want to be," said Meralco coach Norman Black.

Ginebra coach Tim Cone didn’t hide his disappointment, ruing they didn’t play their game.

"Defensively, we’re not good. We gave away 107 points and that’s too much," Cone said. "We’re not playing to our identity, and it’s not the time to step away from your identity. You’ve got to stick to what brought you here, and we’re not doing that."

Durham churned out a huge double-double game with 36 points and 20 rebounds, Newsome had his solid all-around effort with 22 markers, seven assists and three boards while Alapag and Hugnatan combined for seven three-point bombs and a total combined output of 35 points.

Black made special mention of Hugnatan for his three big treys in the last three minutes of the contest.

"He did that against TNT, and he did that again tonight. Definitely, (his three-point shooting) was not a fluke," said Black. "I take my hats off to him. When he makes his shots, he takes the pressure off AD (Allen Durham)."

With more space to operate on, Durham piled up 12 markers in the final canto, including two charities that sealed their win with 8.2 ticks left.

With the productive performances from Durham, Newsome, Alapag and Hugnatan, the Bolts easily negated Justin Brownlee’s PBA-high 42 points.

With the four all in great strides, the Bolts repelled numerous Ginebra counterattacks.

The two imports took charge for their teams early, scattering 20 points each in the first half.

But with a slight better effort in rebounding, in moving the ball around and in making their shots, the Bolts enjoyed a four-point lead, 48-44, at the turn.

The Bolts built an early nine-point lead at 15-6 but then Kings unleashed 12 unanswered points to surge ahead at 18-15.

Trailing by seven, 44-51, early in the third, the Kings made an even bigger run, getting their diehards into a frenzy as they regained the upper hand at 57-51. Curiously, Ginebra uncorked a 13-to-nothing run after a timeout where Cone slammed his board on the floor.

"I was upset from the opening minute on," Cone said.

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