ANTIPOLO – Reynel Hugnatan’s stellar game on Friday night came at the right time for Meralco.
The 39-year-old veteran finished with 15 points, 12 of which coming in the second half, to give the Bolts a big lift as they defeated Magnolia, 94-88, in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center to lift their record to 3-6, their first winning streak of the conference.
Hugnatan’s play came at a time when Meralco is suffering from absences to key players due to injuries in Ranidel de Ocampo, Jared Dillinger, and KG Canaleta.
“Of course, thankful dahil nanalo kami,” said Hugnatan. “Importante sa amin ‘to. Ewan namin kung may chance pa o hindi. One game at a time lang.”
Magnolia is definitely still in the thick of the fight for a playoff berth as it now sits in ninth place behind San Miguel, which owns a 3-4 record.
Hugnatan also played the hero’s role in helping Meralco keep its lead over Magnolia when he hit a floater by using his off-hand (right) to convert the basket. That gave the Bolts an 88-84 lead as the match neared the one-minute mark.
“Sa akin naman, ‘yung floater ko, ilang seconds na lang sa shotclock. Sabi ko, i-drive ko na ‘to. Buti na-shoot,” said Hugnatan, who was only averaging four points per game entering the Magnolia match.
Hugnatan said it has become a team effort for Meralco as the Bolts look to keep themselves in the race for the playoffs as they play Rain or Shine on Sunday and San Miguel on November 3.
“As a veteran, ‘yung mga bata, gina-guide din namin,” said Hugnatan.