Hugnatan, Alapag turn hot in the 4th; Ginebra pays the price.
The wisdom of playing zone against a team armed with the league’s all-time three-point shooter could come into question after Game 3 last night.
Before a crowd of 14,285, the Meralco Bolts torched Barangay Ginebra San Miguel for five triples in the last six minutes to nail down a 107-103 victory and a 2-1 lead in the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game 4 is scheduled tomorrow at the same venue.
Reynel Hugnatan, left free from beyond the arc by Ginebra’s preoccupation with Allen Durham and Jimmy Alapag, buried three, while Alapag drained two from where Stephen Curry takes – and makes – his.
Hugnatan has made just 14 3-pointers in his entire career since 2003, but had matched that output in this conference alone.
But the Kings didn’t go down without a fight.
After Allen Durham missed two free throws to leave the door open with Ginebra trailing, 105-98, with 14 seconds left, Justin Brownlee launched a 3 a couple of feet away from halfcourt and made it, cutting the deficit to 105-13.
Meralco called time and Durham was fouled by LA Tenorio after hanging on against the Kings’ trapping defense.
This time Durham sank both, and the Bolts had a great exhale.
A triple by rookie Chris Newsome put Meralco ahead by seven points, 51-44, early in the third quarter.
Ginebra, however, answered with a 13-0 run as Brownlee combined efforts with Tenorio, Thompson and Japeth Aguilar to give the popular squad a 57-51 lead with 7:47 left.
The run by the Kings ended when Reynel Hugnatan made a jump shot.
Meralco finished the third quarter strong with Alapag – the new record holder for most three-point shots made – nailed two treys.
It was a crucial win for the team. In the history of the league, 43 out of 63 franchises in the PBA that won Game 3 went on to win a seven-game showdown, 24 out of 40 happening in the finals.
MERALCO 107 – Durham 36, Newsome 22, Alapag 18, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 6, Faundo 4, Uyloan 3, Amer 1, Al-Hussaini 0, Nabong 0.
GINEBRA 103 – Brownlee 42, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Thompson 10, Cruz 6, Mariano 6, Devance 5, Mercado 4, Ellis 2, Marcelo 2, Caguioa 0.
Quarters: 18-20; 48-44; 71-69; 107-103