Allen Durham caught off-guard by Cone defensive ploy putting Mercado on him
Meralco import Allen Durham struggled against Ginebra guard Sol Mercado. Jaime Campos

MERALCO import Allen Durham admitted he was caught off-guard when Barangay Ginebra threw a small defender on him in Sol Mercado in Game Two of the PBA Governors Cup Finals on Sunday night.

Durham, who exploded for 46 points in Meralco's overtime win in the series opener, was held to less than half that output by a Tim Cone defensive ploy that put Mercado as the prime defender on the high-scoring import with Japeth Aguilar and Justin Brownlee providing the help.

 “He’s a tough defender,” the 6-5 Durham said of Mercado, who gave up five inches on the import yet helped hold him to 22 points on 10-of-24 shooting in Ginebra's 82-79 victory.

“It caught me a little off guard," he added of the Ginebra ploy. "We tried to do some things but you try to make a change like that during the game is kind of hard cause everything is going so fast paced.”

The loss put a dampener on a night when Durham was named the Best Import of the season-ending conference, edging out Ginebra's Brownlee.

But the hulking import maintained individual awards are not really his thing.

“It’s nice to receive an award like that, something I can tell my family about back home, but I’d rather have the championship,” said Durham.

“It was kind of nice to receive an award like that but I’m just kind of disappointed about the game obviously but we’ll bounce back on Wednesday,” he added.

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