Meralco Gets Boost from Free Agency

Injury problem pushed the Bolts to sign Canaleta and others

The Meralco Bolts are heading into the league’s 43rd season after losing to the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings in the Governors’ Cup Finals for the second consecutive year. 
While the series went to a Game 7 after Ginebra blew their chances to sweep the series, the Bolts’ latest setback against the Gin Kings raised many questions which included the question of whether the Bolts will ever have what it takes to win their first championship in franchise history.  Will the Bolts go to win a championship anytime soon or will they settle for runner-up finishes?
Head Coach Norman Black is facing an injury issue with his players, not to mention the fact that the Finals series of the closing conference went to a full 7-game series- causing some Bolt players to feel exhausted after playing extended minutes during that series. Ranidel De Ocampo for one, missed the majority of that series due to injury. RDO did sign a new contract with the Bolts but we all know that he’s no longer the same catch-and-shoot guy we all saw during the last few years. Even though he’s a stretched forward, bigger and younger guys are emerging in the PBA and the Bolts need to provide reinforcements for RDO and company if they want to continue to be a competitive team.
Recently, the Meralco Bolts inked deals with free agents Nico Salva, KG Canaleta, Mac Baracael and Jason Ballesteros – all frontline players- to provide the needed reinforcements especially with Cliff Hodge and Reynel Hugnatan taking extended resting periods. This decision by Norman Black to rest his stars will enable the new guys to have bigger playing minutes starting in the upcoming Philippine Cup which starts on December 17.
KG Canaleta, for one, has been around in the league and has an established reputation as a scorer and a good defender too- something that the Bolts sorely needed. Nico Salva is reunited with his college coach so it’s expected that he’ll be playing more for Meralco. Both Mac Baracael and Jason Ballesteros can beef up the defensive strength of the Bolts owing to their brute size.

Conclusion

Canaleta et al will definitely provide more firepower for the Bolts. Now, whether or not these signings by the Bolts will give Meralco its first-ever championship is something that nobody can ever predict because, at the end of the day, one’s consistency will dictate how far one can go, right? 

By the Numbers: 3 Reasons Why There will be a Game 7

Ginebra faltered. And Meralco pounded on

Jared Dillinger had 9 points in Game 6- his highest in the series.
No balloon fell. No confetti rained down. No mob ran to the floor to celebrate as the final buzzer sounded. And most importantly, no championship trophy was hoisted last night thanks to the Meralco Bolts’ 98-91 Game 6 victory over the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings. As a result, both teams will face each other, for the last time, in tomorrow’s Game 7 and we can expect that the 53,000+ number of fans that watched last night to be broken, again. 
Why? 
Friday. Philippine Arena. Game 7. Ginebra. Championship. You name it.
The Gin Kings faltered during the early goings of Game 6 and in fact, Game 6 saw Tim Cone’s boys failing to take the lead all game long and three reasons were to be blamed why Ginebra is preparing for a Game 7 instead of partying with their fans:

Reynel Hugnatan: The Old Man’s Still Shooting

Back in Game 3 when Ginebra was on a verge of taking a 3-0 series lead, one of the oldest men from either side, Reynel Hugnatan exploded for 22 points while making it rain from deep, dropping 7 long-range jumpers. That’s 7 threes, folks.
Last night, just when Ginebra thought they could finally celebrate, Reynel Hugnatan was sent into the court just a few minutes after tip-off and drained his first trey of the night just a few possession after checking in. 
By the end of the night, the oldie but definitely still goodie Hugnatan totaled  24 points which were built on 6 THREES– including the last one with 16 seconds left in the game to stretch Meralco’s lead to 10, for the last time. Aside from that, Grandpa Reynel also had 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals while playing for 37 minutes. No wonder why Norman Black trusts him especially with Ranidel De Ocampo out.

Ginebra was Out-REBOUNDED

Rebounds. Rebounds. Rebounds. This is one statistics that the Gin Kings should have been dominating to begin but what happened in Game 6 was quite the opposite. Even though they were shooting better from the 2-point territory, Ginebra found themselves lagging behind in the rebounding department as Meralco got 51 rebounds as compared to Ginebra’s 41. 
What was more surprising is that the smaller Bolts actually got 22 offensive rebounds while the giant Gin Kings only managed to grab 12 offensive boards. Allen Durham grabbed 19 boards- 7 from the offensive end. Even Chris Newsome had 5 offensive rebounds. The result: 16 second-chance points for the Bolts. 

Ginebra’s Bad Habit: Turnovers 

18 turnovers in Game 6- converted by Meralco to 25 BIG points on the other end plus 12 fastbreak points. In any basketball game, more so a championship game, the higher your number of turnovers are, the higher the probability that you would lose the game. And Ginebra was uncharacteristically bad in terms of taking care of the orange whenever they had. 
Sure, they came within 4 points late in the 4th quarter but their consistent habit of turning the ball over was one of the primary reasons why they lost the game in the first place. The starters of Tim Cone alone, combined for 13 of those 18 mistakes and for any team who is hoping to clinch the title, it’s a horrible number of turnovers. Really.

Conclusion

Whether or not Reynel Hugnatan will torch the Gin Kings tomorrow, it’s up to Ginebra. Whether or not the Gin Kings will regain supremacy in the battle for the rebounds, it’s up to Greg Slaughter and company. Whether or not Ginebra will succumb to make silly and costly turnovers, it’s up to the Ginebra players alone. 
Ginebra is still heavily favored to win it all because if we look at them on paper, they are the more talented team. And whether or not they will use that talent and every advantage that they to win it all come tomorrow, it’s up to Ginebra. Alone.  

Hugnatan Hits 6 Threes, Durham has 28 to Force a Game 7

Meralco led all game along and held on in the 4th

Chris Newsome and the Bolts defied the odds to force a Game 7.

One team is hoping to celebrate their second consecutive Governors’ Cup championship by the end of the night while one team is hoping to stay in the title hunt and extend this series to a Game 7 on Friday at the Philippine Arena. For the defending champions, win Game 6 and you get to enjoy the rest of the night. 
For the Meralco Bolts, on the other hand, provide Allen Durham with the much-needed reinforcements and they might just extend this best-of-7 Finals series to a winner-take-all match. Might.
Nope. The balloons and the confetti will have to wait until Friday as the Meralco Bolts did what they have to do to extend this series to a rubber match after they beat Ginebra, 98-91 in Game 6.

Meralco’s Locals Sparked Early On

Garvo Lanete started things off in Game 6 with a three-pointer as the Meralco Bolts raced to a 12-4 advantage after Chris Newsome scored on a fastbreak lay-up halfway through the first quarter. Around that span of time, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings were only shooting 25% from the field which explained why Tim Cone called a timeout.

After Ginebra cut the lead down to 5, at 15-10, the Bolts answered right back with their scoring run of their own to put up a 9-point lead. Another trey from Lanete gave Meralco their first taste of a double-digit advantage, at 25-14 as Ginebra mysteriously struggled to get anything going on offense. Meralco held a 29-17 after the first 12 minutes of action as Lanete already have 8 points under his name as he nailed 2 of Meralco’s 4 threes to start the game.

Meralco’s offense vanished at the early moments of the second quarter which enabled the Gin Kings to cut down the deficit down to 6, at 29-23 as Ginebra’s defense held the Bolts scoreless for almost 3 minutes as the Bolts succumbed to commit costly turnovers. Garvo Lanete finally broke the spell of the Bolts on a teardrop and Aleen Durham added another lay-up to re-establish a nine-point cushion, at 33-24. Baser Amer later drained a trey and Durham added another inside basket as Meralco established a 14-point advantage heading into another Ginebra timeout.
5 points from Jared Dillinger plus a free throw from Amer made it 44-24 with 6 minutes to play as Ginebra was struggling terribly to put the ball into the basket as Reynel Huganatan drained another three-pointer to keep the Bolts by 17 points. Both teams walked into the halftime break with the Bolts leading, 54-17.

The Digits at the Half

Allen Durham, as expected led the way for the players of Norman Black with 13 points and 11 rebounds but this time, he had more reinforcements as Reynel Hugnatan had 11 points off the bench while Lanete added 10 as a starter. Three-point shooting has been the key for Meralco as it was evident in the first half of Game 6 which saw  the Bols make 7 of their 16 shots from outside
For Ginebra, Justin Brownlee matched Durham’s numbers with 13 points on his own but no one else followed through for the Gin Kings as Greg Slaughter had 8 points while LA Tenorio scored 6 points on 3 of 9 field goal shooting. Almost everything went terribly wrong for the champs, at least in the first half of Game 6 as Ginebra failed to match the intensity of Meralco as evident in their points scored on fastbreak opportunities, an area where Tim Cone’s boys only scored 2 points while allowing Meralco to score 12 points on the break.

Ginebra’s Climb

From the highest of 17 points during the halftime break, Ginebra relied on Justin Brownlee as the Gin Gin Kings went on a scoring burst to cut the deficit down to 13 points, at 61-48 with under 8 minutes to play in the 3rd quarter. After a Meralco timeout, Greg Slaughter unleashed a personal 4-0 run as part of Ginebra’s 9-0 run cut down the lead down to a single digit for the first time since the first half as Garvo Lanete scored on the inside for a rare Meralco basket. 
Later, Scottie Thompson drained a trey as both teams reached the halfway mark of the third quarter. Garvo Lanete scored on another three-pointer to make it a double-digit lead for the Bolts as Gnebra called a timeout with under 5 minutes to play. Ginebra managed to keep the deficit down to single digit the rest of the way as they entered the final quarter just down 6 points, 75-69. 

Meralco Regained its  Rthym 

Right after Ginebra cut down the deficit to 6 points anew, Meralco regained control as Allen Durham went to work to open the 4th quarter and Reynel Hugnatan drained another three-pointer to give Mealco, a 13-point lead at 85-72with 8:08 remaining in the 4th quarter.
Ginebra’s back-to-back threes off a timeout brought the deficit to a single digit, again but Cliff Hodge on a highly-contested lay-up as Chris Newsome added a free throw for an 11-point advantage with the 4th quarter already halfway done. 

One Last Push for Ginebra (?)

Ginebra’s slowly began to click as LA Tenorio’s trey with under 6 minutes left in the game brought his team within 6 points, at 88-82 prompting Norman Black to call another timeout. Moments later, Mark “The Spark” Caguioa drained a turnaround jumper to bring Ginebra within 4 points, at 90-86- the closest the Gin Kings came within all game along. But that indeed was the closest Ginebra came within as Meralco scored on a free throw plus a putback from Allen Durham to put the Bolts up 7 with under 2 minutes play. Then, Allen Durham scored on the inside with 40 seconds left on the clock and to lock up a Game 7 on Friday, Reynel Huganatn drained his 6th three-pointer of the game with 16 seconds left. 

The Digits that Mattered

Allen Durham scored 28 points and grabbed 19 rebounds while playing for 48 MINUTES. The good news was, he had help this time around as Reynel Hugantan scored 24 points which were built on six of 12 shooting from long distance. Garvo Lanete 15 points while Chris Newsome added 10 points and 11 boards. What were the keys for Meralco? 51-41 rebounding edge plus 42% shooting from long distance.
Justin Brownlee led the Gin Kings with 23 points and 9 boards while Greg Slaughter added 18 points in his second consecutive game as a starter in this series. LA Tenorio and Scottie Thompson each scored 12 points but Ginebra only got 16 points from its bench players. 
Scores:

MERALCO – 98
Durham 28, Hugnatan 24, Lanete 15, Newsome 10, Dillinger 9, Hodge 6, Amer 6, Caram 0.

GINEBRA – 91
Brownlee 23, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 12, Thompson 12, Devance 11, J. Aguilar 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Taha 0.
Quarter scoring:
29-17, 54-37, 75-69, 98-91

Allen Durham Makes Crucial Basket to Lift Meralco Against Ginebra in Game 4, Series Tied 2-2

Ginebra Gin  Kings falter late. Again

Baser Amer Meralco Bolts
Baser Amer made some crucial baskets down the stretch for the Bolts (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

Just when Ginebra thought that they could sweep the series, the Bolts came out alive in Game 3. And just when the defending champions thought that they could take a commanding 3-1 series heading into Sunday’s Game 5 at the Philippine Arena, the Meralco Bolts got the job done as they held on to win a close one in Game 4, an 85-83 victory against the crowd darlings which knotted the series at 2 games apiece.
Right from the tip-off, it didn’t take long until both squads started scoring. Justin Brownlee started things off with a dunk to energize the almost all Ginebra crowd as Joe Devance provided the early reinforcements as he drained two baskets, a trey and a 2-point basket to put Ginebra up, at 7-4 but the Bolts, coming off a much-needed Game 3 victory, roared back with 6 unanswered points to take a 10-7 advantage. The rest of the opening chapter of Game 4 was an up and down roller coaster ride as both squads were trying to pull away from one another. The first quarter ended with both teams tied at 17-all.
When the second quarter came along, that’s when things began to heat up for the Bolts as their Game 3 hero, the old man Reynel Hugnatan drained 2 three-pointers in the early moments of the quarter as the rest of the Bolts slowly chipped with Chris Newsome attacking the paint, so was Allen Durham. Even Baser Amer and Anjo Caram scored on numerous occassions.
However, the Gin Kings didn’t allow Meralco to run away as they went on a scoring run which was highlighted by Justin Brownlee’s 10 points which brought the champs within 38-37 with under 2 minutes to play in the first half.  Brownlee dropped a long-distance bomb to put Ginebra up, at 40-38 with 40 seconds to play but Chris Newsome answered right back with a trey of his own to give the Bolts, a 41-40 heading into the halftime break.

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A Touch of the Fast and the Furious: The Third Quarter Comeback

Thanks to Allen Durham, Hugnatan and Newsome, the Bolts built a lead which ballooned to 13 points. With his team down after Durham made a pair of freebies, Tim Cone first sent Mark Caguioa into the game and immediately scored a 2-point shot to decrease the deficit down to 11. Then, the crowd went nuts, really nuts as Jay Jay Halterbrand checked in for the first time and all of a sudden, the famed Fast and the Furious of Caguioa and Helterbrand was back in action and it really rippled to the reaction of the crowd as the chants of “GI-NE-BRA! GI-NE-BRA!” went louder and louder. Another basket by the Spark brought down the deficit to single digit from that moment on, Justin Brownlee 4 free throws to make it 65-58 with 1:11 left in the 3rd quarter. Mark Caguioa later added another lay-up as Justin Brownlee made another 3 to bring his team within 5, at 68-63 heading into the final quarter.

Early Struggles in the 4th

Both squads were struggling to get anything going in the early goings of the final frame as Joe Devance finally scored the Gin Kings’ first three points to make it 68-66 which was answered right back with Allen Durham yet again, scoring on a jump shot. Missed shots, missed free throws, turnovers and fouls mired the first four minutes of the 4th quarter until Japeth Aguilar slammed it home to make it 70-68 off a lob from Brownlee. And finally, Jay Jay Helterbrand scored his first field goal of the series on a lay-up to tie things up at 70-all with under 8 minutes to spare.

Up and Down. Until the End

Knowing the importance of a victory in Game 4, both teams engaged on a close slugfest as the teams took turns in either taking the lead and tying the score. Both imports played essential roles for their teams as they delivered the heavy blows in the closing minutes of the game.
Then came the final two minutes which began with Japeth Aguilar slamming it home anew plus a bonus free throw off a Cliff Hodge foul to give Ginebra, an 81-78 lead which was followed by Noman Black calling an important timeout. Allen Durham then had the chance to tie the score again after scoring inside while drawing a foul but missed a free throw, again. After several misses by both teams, Durham found an open Baser Amer who in turn, drained one of the most important treys of his young career to give the lead back to the Bolts, at 83-81 with 1:18 left on the clock.  Justin Brownlee tied the game with a pair of charities but it was Allen Durham’s basket with 47 seconds that gave Meralco the lead and the WIN as Ginebra missed several opportunities to tie or even take the win- even missing the opportunity to draw out a play with under 20 ticks left with a timeout. No timeout. No play was drawn out. Missed baskets. Missed opportunities. Everything is back to zero.

The Numbers

Allen Durham, yet again, led the way for Meralco with 28 points and 18 rebounds. Chirs Newsome finally broke out of his slump to score 18 points and grab 11 rebounds. Grandpa Raynel Hugnatan contributed 14 points off the bench. Exactly like they did in Game 3, the Bolts shot better from rainbow distance in Game 4, making 8 of their 19 shots from that area. They also held a 13-9 advantage in the second-chance points. Irony, isn’t it?
For the defending champions, Justin Brownlee had 34 points while Joe Devance added 15 but nobody else followed suit and that doomed Tim Cone and the rest of the Gin Kings as they turned the ball over, 19 times, again. They were also out-rebounded, 17-12 on the offensive end- by the smaller Meralco players. Again, irony, isn’t it?
Scores:
Meralco
Durham 28, Newsome 18, Hugnatan 14, Amer 11, Hodge 7, Dillinger 2, Faundo 2, Caram 2, Lanete 1, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, De Ocampo 0, Tolomia 0
Ginebra
Brownlee 34, Devance 15, Caguioa 8, J. Aguilar 7, Slaughter 6, Thompson 4, Cruz 4, Ferrer 3, Helterbrand 2, Tenorio 0, Mercado 0, Jamito 0, Mariano 0. R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Quarter scoring
17-17, 41-40, 68-63, 85-83

By the Numbers: Durham, Hugnatan and the Threes that Lifted the Bolts

For one game, Meralco was able to work around their height disadvantage and won one against the giants

Allen Durham played Game 3 like the Best Import he should be.  
Just when Ginebra thought that they can sweep the series and celebrate by tomorrow night, just when Ginebra defenders thought that the Meralco Bolts would continue with their brick-shooting habit, the defending champions were proven wrong as the Bolts came out from nowhere as they regained their shooting touch, torched the Gin Kings and the result: a 94-81 victory which trimmed down the series deficit to 2-1.

Of course, this victory by the Bolts changed nothing primarily because Ginebra is still 2 wins away from clinching the championship while Meralco will need to win tomorrow’s Game 4, win Game 5 and then a victory in Game 6 will give them their first championship in franchise history.

If any of you missed last night’s game and are wondering what on Earth happened, let this basketball pundit on wheels run some numbers for you:

11 Threes Made

Since the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings are relatively filled with giant players, the alternative for the Bolts of Norman Black was to shoot from the outside and that was something they did horribly back in the first two games of this best-of-7 series. How bad was it?

Game 1

8 out of 34

Game 2 

5 out of 18
In total, the Bolts only made 13 of their whopping 52 ATTEMPTS from deep. That number changed dramatically in Game 3 where Meralco made 11 of their shots from rainbow country. 7 of those 11 made baskets came from the old man, Reynel Hugnatan. See? If the Bolts are shooting better especially from beyond the three-point line, they can beat the champs. In fact, if they can keep this kind of shooting come tomorrow, they can even dethrone Ginebra. Consistency is the key here for the Bolts especially with the fact that Ranidel De Ocampo only played sparingly but was taken out of Game 3 due to injury. Jared Dillinger needs to keep making more of those long-distance bombs instead of missing them. 

22 Points from Reynel Hugnatan- Surprise!

We all know that one of the oldest players sitting on the bench of Norman Black, Reynel Hugnatan- can make those three-pointers as if he is Jimmy Alapag. And that’s not a surprise, really. Hugnatan used to drain away those bombs during the last time both teams met in the Finals last year. His 22 points in last night’s Game 3 were built on 7 three-pointers, making 7 of his 12 attempts- a 58% 3-point shooting. If anything, the Meralco Bolts will need more from Grandpa Reynel if they seriously want to challenge the supremacy of the Gin Kings. 

38 points, 19 rebounds, 5 blocks for Allen Durham

That stat-line above is a testament that Allen Durham is indeed, deserving of his back-to-back Best Import awards. He made 50% of his 30 attempts in Game 3 and 72% of his 11 free throw attempts. And yes, Durham is one of the primary reasons why the Bolts won last night because he was the lone starter for Meralco who scored in double figures. 

Conclusion

One game doesn’t change anything- at least for the defending champions. But for the challengers to the champions, it means everything to them. For one game, the Bolts were able to take down the giants. For one game, Meralco was able to electrocute the Gin Kings with their three-pointers. For one game, Norman Black and the rest of the Bolts walked out victorious. The next step for them: do them all over again for 3 more games- starting with tomorrow’s Game 4. 

Hugnatan’s 7 Threes, Durham’s 38 Points Lift Bolts in Game 3

Meralco prevents getting swept after Hugnatan provided the needed voltage from outside

Meralco Bolts' Reynel Hugnatan
Reynel Hugnatan shot 58% from beyond the arc in Game 3. (Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)

With the title almost upon their reach, the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings need two things: make sure that they win Game and secondly, not just win Game 3 but, dominate it to the point that it will make the Meralco Bolts desperate. 

For the Bolts on the other side, winning Game 3 is the first step towards keeping their championship aspirations alive. The next step? Well, keep on winning the next 3 games and the championship is their- that if they are able to stop shooting bricks and start hitting their target: the basket.
Just when the defending champions thought they could finally celebrate on Friday,  they were terribly wrong as Allen Durham AND Reynel Hugnatan sparked the Bolts after Meralco scored a 94-81 Game 3 win that put the Bolts back into the series, only trailing 2-1 heading into Friday’s Game 4.

Meralco Faltered and Recovered. 

Both teams started out flat during the first three minutes of Game 3 but once Scottie Thompson hit his first field goal, the Gin Kings held the Bolts to only 3 points in the first 4 minutes of the first quarter as Meralco fell 8-3 which was the reason why Norman Black called a timeout. Desperate to get anything going, the Bolts went to attack the paint only to be blocked by Ginebra defenders. Meralco was able to score a few possessions later but they couldn’t attack the shaded nor shoot from the outside as Japeth Aguilar’s inside basket gave Gin Kings, a 14-5 edge with under 5 minutes to go. 
Back to back treys from Reynel Hunatan and Anjo Caram brought the Bolts within 3, at 14-11. The Gin Kings answered right back with a three of their own but Hugnatan took it back with another trey of his own. Caram added another long-distance bomb to make it 19-18 with under 2 to play in the first quarter. He made a free throw to tie the score at 19-all. Both teams tied at 21 apiece after the first minutes of action as the duo of Hugnatan and Caram along with Allen Durham kept the Bolts within striking distance.

Meralco went back into it: Shooting Bricks

Greg Slaughter has already outscored himself in Game 2 when he scored 4 points during the opening moments of the second quarter as Justin Brownlee drained one from deep to make it 27-23. But Meralco roared back into it as Garvo Lanete’s lay-up gave the Bolts the lead, at 28-27 which was followed by Tim Cone calling a timeout. However, right after the champs regained the lead, the Bolts went back to their bad habits: shooting bricks especially from beyond the three-point land, an area where the Bolts made 4 of 8 attempts back in the first quarter. That Meralco slump enabled Ginebra to re-established a 7-point advantage with 5:50 left before intermission. 
Despite that, the Bolts were able to get themselves back within striking distance after they went on a scoring which was highlighted by a Hugnatan trey which made it 44-42 approaching the closing minutes of the first half as Ginebra carried a 47-46 lead into the break. 

Numbers at the Half

After scoring just 3 points in the previous game, Greg Slaughter already had 9 points after the first two quarters to lead the defending champions. His other half of Ginebra’s Twin Towers, Japeth Aguilar also had 9 at halftime while import Justin Brownlee added 8 points. Thanks to their height advantage, the Gin Kings were able to take advantage of their offensive boards which in turn, they converted to 9-second-chance points. They also held a 7-5 advantage in points scored off turnovers. 
Allen Durham meanwhile scored 15 first-half points to lead all scorers to go along with his 10 rebounds but it was the 12 points of Reynel Hugnatan which allowed the Bolts stick around. Both teams had a very contrasting performance in the 3-point line as the Bolts scored 6 of 18 from outside which was a far cry to Ginebra’s 2 of 12 from that area. 

Third Quarter: A Roller Coaster Ride

The first 3 minutes of the second half was an up and down battle both teams as the lead switched hands twice before LA Tenorio made 52-48 with a 3-point shot although he was called for a traveling violation on the next Ginebra possession. Inconsistency went back to hurt Meralco as they fell behind by 6 points during the next minutes until LA  Tenorio’s fastbreak lay-up made it 60-52 approaching the 5-minute mark of the third quarter. 
Coming off a timeout, Meralco unleashed an 8-0 run to tie the score at 60-all. After Ginebra gained the lead back momentarily, Reynel Hugnatan added another one from long distance and Allen Durham added a pair of charities to put the Bolts up, 66-64 with barely a minute before the end of the 3rd period.

Meralco’s Stuck Around 

Joe Devance and Justin Brownlee each nailed a three-pointer to open the 4th quarter as Norman Black immediately called a timeout to avoid any more damage as the crowd darlings had regained the lead once more. Garvo Lanete broke Meralco’s scoring drought with a trey but Greg Slaughter continued to pour in the points. Lanete later added another inside basket to bring his team with 1, at 74-73 with 8 minutes remaining in the game as the Bolts began to turn the ball over anew. Meralco later regained the lead on Allen Durham’s dunk but Japeth Aguilar gave it back to Ginebra upon completing a 3-point play.
A technical foul was called on Japeth Aguilar and Meralco made the technical free throw to be followed by an Allen Durham basket and another, yes, another long-distance bomb from Reynel Hugnatan to put the Bolts up, 83-77 with under 4 minutes to play as Ginebra called another timeout.
Durham then blocked Justin Brownlee and scored on a 3-point play to give the Bolts, a 9-point cushion. LA Tenorio scored on a three-pointer but Hugnatan handed out a nice dish to Durham who made the basket to keep it an 8-point  for the Bolts heading into the final 2 minutes of the game. And, Ginebra left Jared Dillinger beyond the arc and they paid the price as Dillinger finally nailed one from outside put the Bolts up by 11. 

The Numbers that Won and Lost the Games

Justin Brownlee played his yet best game of the series as he finished with 38 points, 20 rebounds and 5 blocks. But it was Reyenel Hugnatan’s 22 points, 21 on threes, proved to be the dagger that was buried in the hearts of the Ginerba faithfuls as he provided the needed spark that wasn’t coming from the rest of the Bolts. Key to victory for Meralco? Simple. 3-point shooting. They made 11 of 31 from deep.
Justin Brownlee was limited to 15 points on 7 of 20 field goal shooting while LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar each had 14 points. Even though Ginebra was shooting better throughout the game, their 19 turnovers cost them a chance to get a commanding 3-0 series lead. 
Scores:
Meralco 
Durham 38, Hugnatan 22, Dillingr 9, Lanete 8, Caram 7, Newsome 7, Hodge 3, Amer 0, De Ocampo 0, Atkins 0, Yeo 0, Sedurifa 0, Faundo 0, Tolomia 0
Ginebra
Brownlee 15, Tenorio 14, J. Aguilar 14, Slaughter 12, Thompson 10, Devance 8, Caguioa 8, Mercado 0, Helterbrand 0, Ferrer 0, Jamito 0, Cruz 0, Mariano 0, R. Aguilar 0, Taha 0
Quarter scoring:
21-21, 46-47, 66-64, 94-81