MERALCO found chinks in TNT Katropa’s armor as it waltzed to a 106-91 victory to knot their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series at one game apiece on Thursday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts zoomed to a strong start then capped it with a solid finish as they stunningly coasted to the blowout victory in Game Two to atone for a one-sided loss in the series opener.
Allen Durham powered the Bolts with 31 points and 21 boards, while Chris Newsome bounced back from a woeful outing as the rookie playmaker registered 17 points, 10 boards, and five assists for the Bolts, who handed the Texters only their second loss of the conference.
Jimmy Alapag also kept the Bolts’ buffer when the Texters tried to make a comeback as the star point guard knocked down four three-pointers and scored all but two of his 16 points in the final frame to move just six triples away from surpassing Allan Caidic for most three-pointers in a career.
“We played a lot better tonight than we played in the second half of Game One,” Bolts coach Norman Black said. “We didn’t have much time (to make adjustments), but the things we talked about worked today."
Game Three of the best-of-five series is on Saturday also at the Big Dome.
Cliff Hodge provided his usual energy and timely long-range shooting, while Reynel Hugnatan returned to the starting lineup and made the most out of it as the veteran forward finished with 12 points, five assists, and three boards.
Jared Dillinger added eight points before unfortunately suffering a minor hamstring injury in the waning seconds for the Bolts, who led from start to finish and established a cushion that ballooned to 24 points.
Jayson Castro scored a team-high 24 points, but the Texters superstar didn’t play in the fourth quarter where the Bolts entered with a 20-point margin.
MERALCO 106 – Durham 31, Newsome 17, Alapag 16, Hodge 15, Hugnatan 12, Dillinger 8, Uyloan 3, Amer 2, Nabong 2, Faundo 0
TNT 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
Quarterscores: 29-15, 54-40, 80-60, 106-91