Meralco completed its dominance of Star in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals with a 91-88 overtime win in Game 3 Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts zoomed to an early lead in overtime with five unanswered points, holding the Hotshots scoreless for close to four minutes
But just when Meralco seemed poised to put the game beyond reach, Star kept its hopes alive when Mark Barroca managed to answer Cliff Hodge’s triple with 14 seconds left to cut the Bolts lead to three, 91-88.
Star then trapped Newsome on the inbounds play to force a jump ball with six seconds left in the game.
Although the Hotshots got the possession, Jio Jalalon could not get a proper shot over three Bolts as time expired.
“I never expected a Star team to give up, a lot of credit goes to coach Chito [Victolero] for leading a team and fighting it out tonight,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.
“We really had to gut it out, it was a hard-fought victory for us but in the end it’s all worth it because we get to move to the championship round.”
Star started the overtime period on a miserable pace missing its first seven shots before Rafi Reavis converted underneath with 31.9 seconds left in the game to cut the deficit to 88-85.
Allen Durham filled the stat sheets for the Bolts with 24 points, 19 rebounds, and six assists while Hodge added 18 points and eight boards.
Barroca had 21 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists to lead the Bolts while Marc Pingris added 16 points and six boards.
The Bolts now await the winner of the semifinals series between Ginebra and TNT in their return to the finals.