REYNEL Hugnatan celebrated his 40th birthday on Saturday, but didn’t play his age in Meralco’s victory over San Miguel.
Hugnatan finished with 19 points including 13 in the fourth quarter as the Bolts defeated the Beermen, 111-81, on Saturday in the PBA Governors’ Cup.
Meralco coach Norman Black hailed Hugnatan’s performance as he turned back the hands of time as if he was just coming from a stint in the defunct Metropolitan Basketball Association (MBA) with the Negros Slashers.
“Really helped us space the floor by hitting some outside shots for us. He turned 40 years old today. But he did not play like it in this game. He played like a youngster like he was just coming from the MBA,” said Black.
Hugnatan shot 3 of 6 from threes most of which coming in the fourth quarter where the Bolts sustained their big league in the match.
“Those three-point shots he hit in the fourth quarter helped us a lot,” said Black.
Hugnatan though deflected the credit to his teammates as they were giving him the open shots.
“Birthday ko nga. Maganda. Credit to my teammates na gift nila sa akin ‘to. Basta ako, I try my best na maging healthy lang para makalaro pa ng mahaba,” said Hugnatan.
With Hugnatan’s heroics, the Bolts, at 5-6, extended their winning streak to four games and have clinched at least a playoff for the eighth and final quarterfinal spot, despite a conference where they also suffered six straight defeats.
“Nag-improve ‘yung individual at team defense namin,” said Hugnatan, when asked on what changed for the Bolts this conference. “Nag-uusap kami sa loob.”