MERALCO accomplished in overtime what it came up short of doing in regulation, outlasting Barangay Ginebra, 114-109, on Friday night for a head start in their PBA Governors Cup Finals series at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Allen Durham almost singlehandedly carried the Bolts, scoring seven straight points to start the extra session before dishing an assist to Cliff Hodge who knocked down a dagger three-pointer that sealed the deal in Game One.
“It’s a hard-fought game,” Bolts coach Norman Black said after the game as his team beat the Gin Kings for the first time this season. “It’s a good time to beat them.”
Game Two of the best-of-seven series is on Sunday also at the Big Dome.
Jimmy Alapag hit two birds with one stone - in this case a triple - as he caught Allan Caidic at the top of the three-point shooting list, while also giving the Bolts the lead in regulation before LA Tenorio retaliated with a floater that sent the game to overtime.
That’s when Durham took over.
The tireless Bolts import hit two straight shots from closer range, then buried a trey to complete a one-man run to start OT. After Justin Brownlee hit a short jumper, Durham fed Hodge for that huge triple from the left corner to give the Bolts a 112-104 lead.
That completed an all-around effort that saw Durham scatter 46 points, 13 boards, seven assists, two blocks, and one steal in 50 minutes of play as he led the Bolts in coming back from as many as 16 points in third quarter and 11 down halfway through the fourth.
Chris Newsome also flirted with a triple-double after a slow start as the rookie playmaker finished with 17 points, nine boards, and nine assists, while Alapag scored all but three of his 13 points in the fourth quarter, capped by that timely triple that increased his tally to 1,242.
The result spoiled an impressive showing from Tenorio, whose floater to force overtime reset his career high to 36 points.
Brownlee was held to just 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting in 47 minutes
MERALCO 114 – Durham 46, Newsome 17, Hugnatan 15, Alapag 13, Faundo 8, Amer 5, Caram 4, Hodge 4, Buenafe 2, Nabong 0, Uyloan 0
GINEBRA 109 – Tenorio 36, Brownlee 17, Caguioa 14, Devance 13, Mercado 8, Thompson 8, Aguilar 6, Cruz 5, Marcelo 2, Mariano 0
Quarterscores: 31-28, 42-53, 75-80, 102-102, 114-109