Hugnatan, Alapag deliver late in fourth as Meralco nips Ginebra for 2-1 lead

By Patrick Sutare

QUEZON CITY—When it is a nip-and-tuck affair, you go to the ageless ones to take over the helm.

Reynel Hugnatan and Jimmy Alapag hit timely baskets in clutch to hoist Meralco past Ginebra, 107-103, in Game 3 of the PBA Governors' Cup Finals Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum and take a 2-1 series advantage.

The veteran combo conspired for a combined five triples in the in the fourth quarter, most of which were response to every gallant stand the Kings employed.

The 37-year old Hugnatan made Ginebra's defense pay for sagging off him from the 3-point line, the vet not being known as a deadly knockdown shooter from beyond the arc.

He made three out of three from deep in the final three minutes of the game after missing all of the same shot in the first half, with the last one providing quite a distance with 42.2 ticks left as the scoreboard reads 105-98 for the Bolts.

But Ginebra would stage a fightback, scoring five straight points in a span of 30 seconds thereafter.

Justin Brownlee capped the late rally by hitting an almost impossible long range attempt, 105-103, but Allen Durham calmly drilled his charities from the stripe to shut the door of hopes for the Barangay.

Durham was solid in his bounce back game after a sub-par performance in Game 2. He finished with 36 points and 20 rebounds. Rookie Chris Newsome topscored Meralco's all-important local support with 22.

Ginebra, on the other hand, was somehow an opposite story.

Brownlee almost carried his squad in his lonesome as his old reliables struggled to find their rhythm offensively and defensively. He dropped a conference-high of 42 points as his team falls to a 1-2 series conundrum.

Game 4 is set on Friday at 8 p.m. still at the Big Dome.

Box Scores:

MERALCO 107 - Durham 36, Newsome 22, Reyes 18, Hugnatan 17, Hodge 6, Faundo 4, Uyloan 3, Amer 1, Al-Hussaini 0, Nabong 0

GINEBRA 103 - Brownlee 42, Tenorio 14, Aguilar 12, Thompson 10, Mariano 6, Cruz 6, Devance 5, Mercado 4, Ellis 2, Caguioa 2, Marcelo 0

Quarterscores: 18-20, 48-44, 71-69, 107-103

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