Ginebra evens series at 1-1, escapes Meralco
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel avoided what could have been another collapse as it held off Meralco, 82-79, to level their 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals series at 1-1 Sunday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Sol Mercado made the go-ahead basket, a putback off an LA Tenorio miss, 81-79, with 28.2 seconds left before holding his ground against Meralco import Allen Durham on the other end.
Justin Brownlee, who lost the Best Import award to Durham, finished with 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Gin Kings.
“We had a tough shooting night and it just seemed like shots that we normally make just didn’t go in, a lot of in and out especially around the basket, but we said at halftime even though we weren’t playing well offensively, we felt it was the kind of game that we play well and win,” said Ginebra head coach Tim Cone.
“Your defense is your constant. And that’s why we hang our hat on our defense. We changed the match-ups today and let Sol have Durham and he did a great job just trying to limit his touches,” Cone added.
The Bolts had a couple of chances to force overtime but Allen Durham and Cliff hodge missed potential game-tying 3-pointers as time ran out.
Ginebra blew a 15-point lead in the third quarter and even trailed by two, 79-77, on a three-point play by Hodge with 2:45 remaining before Brownlee and Mercado scored four unanswered points.
Mercado had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in 38 minutes while rookie Scottie Thompson nearly posted a double-double with nine points and eight rebounds.
Durham scored 22 points and 15 rebounds two nights after putting up 46 points and 13 rebounds in the Bolts’ 114-109 overtime win in Game 1 where the Kings squandered a 16-point advantage in the third period.
Game 3 is on Wednesday, 7 p.m., still at the Big Dome.
GINEBRA 82 – Brownlee 32, Mercado 12, Caguioa 10, Tenorio 9, Thompson 9, Aguilar 6, Devance 2, Helterbrand 2, Cruz 0, Marcelo 0.
MERALCO 79 – Durham 22, Hodge 16, Newsome 10, Hugnatan 9, Nabong 6, Amer 4, Caram 4, Alapag 3, Uyloan 3, Faundo 2.
Quarterscores: 24-21, 43-44, 69-60, 82-79
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