REYNEL Hugnatan is keeping his fingers crossed he’ll be able to keep his hot shooting form the rest of the PBA Governors Cup semifinals after torching TNT Katropa from beyond the arc in Meralco’s 119-113 win in Game Three Saturday night.
The veteran big man emerged as the most unlikely hero for the Bolts as he finished with 21 points, including 5 of 6 from three-point range that highlighted the team’s fiery shooting from downtown and factored in the rousing win which gave them a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
The Bolts shoot for their first ever finals appearance with another win in Game Four Monday, where the 37-year-old Hugnatan hopes the team will be able to play the same way.
"May isang game pa, ano mang ginawa namin ngayon sana makita namin next game. Alam namin na TnT, yan, di pwede balewalain," he said.
Hugnatan himself was surprised with the way he shot the ball from three-point range against the Texters, which capped a new franchise-high of 17 career triples for the Bolts.
"Hindi ko nga alam bat pumasok yun e," said Hugnatan, referring to his five triples, including back-to-back in the payoff period during a stretch where he scored eight straight points to give Meralco a 112-109 lead it never relinquished with 1:55 to go in the tightly-fought match.
"Sabi lang ni coach (Norman Black) nung time na yun, 'pag open ka shoot it.' Buti tumatama naman tira ko kaya tira na lang ng tira pag open."
But Black was the least stunned with the Meralco big man’s outside shooting, saying he has given Hugnatan the green light to launch shots from that range.
"He's given the green light to shoot three-pointers as far back as second conference. He's actually a pretty good three-pointer," said Black during the post-game interview.
The American mentor also noted that out of Meralco’s big men, it’s Hugnatan who always emerged as the best shooter from downtown during practice.