1st quarter surge powers Bolts to 1-1.
The power outage that hit the Meralco Bolts in the opener was over right from the start of Game 2.
Behind a scorching first 12 minutes, the Bolts zapped TNT KaTropa, 106-91, last night to level at 1-1 their PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-5 semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, turning the series into a best-of-3.
The other semis pairing between San Miguel Beer and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel is in the same situation, leaving the battle for championship berths a tossup among the four teams.
Forward Cliff Hodge scored 10 points in the third frame as he helped the Bolts increase their lead.
From a 54-40 lead at the break, 76-52, on Hodge’s two free throws with 4:17 left in the period, the Bolts’ do-it-all player made most of his basket inside the shaded lane as he battled TNT import Mychal Ammons.
Rookie guard Chris Newsome, likewise, did his part as he scored nine points. He finished with only three points in Game 1 as he struggled from the field by going 1-of-6 from the perimeter but more than made up for the slack this time with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists.
Meralco started strong as it outscored TNT, 29-15, shooting 12-of-22 from the field (55%) while the Bolts held the Texters to just 7-of-21 shooting (33%) from the perimeter; they also controlled the boards, 16-8.
The lead ballooned to 17 points, 34-17, on a three-point shot by back-up guard Jonathan Uyloan early in the second quarter and the first half ended with the Bolts up, 54-40.
It was all the cushion they needed, it turned out.
By the halftime break, Allen Durham, a strong contender for the Bobby Parks Best Import award, already scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting from the field while collaring a total of 10 boards in the first two quarters.
He had 31 points.
“We played a lot better tonight; we made adjustments in practice,” said Bolts coach Norman Black. “Putting a bigger lineup on the floor helped us. We were more prepared in what they’ve thrown at us. We made some outside shots today, something we didn’t do last time.”
The only bright spot for TNT KaTropa in the first period was guard Jayson Castro, who scored 12 of 16 points in the second period – the only double-digit scorer in the first half for the top seeded Texters.
Castro sat out most of the second half, however.
Even Black was perplexed why Castro rode the bench in the last two quarters.
“I’m not sure why he didn’t come back,” Black said.
TNT won the opener, 113-95, as it unleashed a big third quarter run. All that explosion was nowhere evident in Game 2.
Michael Madanley, who scored 22 points in the series-opener, played more than 13 minutes in the first half and scored just two points as he made only a single field goal in six attempts.
Madanley, a former member of Syria’s national team but has been based in the US, sat on the bench the entire second half due to an injury.
MERALCO 106 – Durham 31, Newsome 17, Alapag 16, Hodge 15, Hugnatan 12, Dillinger 8, Uyloan 3, Amer 2, Nabong 2, Faundo 0.
TNT KATROPA 91 – Castro 24, Ammons 15, De Ocampo 10, Rosario 9, Tautuaa 9, Williams 9, Ababou 7, Carey 2, Fonacier 2, Madanly 2, Rosales 2, Rosser 0.
Quarters: 29-15; 54-40; 80-60; 106-91