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Meralco rallies late to steal Game 3 from TNT

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Meralco sizzled in the final 3:10 of Game 3 of the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals to take a 119-113 win against TNT at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday night.

The Bolts finished the game on a 15-4 run to steal the victory from the KaTropa, who had a chance to pull away from a seesaw game.

After seeing Chris Newsome defying their defense with highlight slams, the KaTropa went on a 6-0 run capped by Ranidel De Ocampo's own dunk with 3:28 left to put them up, 109-104.

But Reynel Hugnatan hit back-to-back triples and eventually went on an 8-0 rally by his lonesome to give the Bolts a 112-109 lead with 1:55 to go.

Jayson Castro hit two charities to draw to TNT to within one, but Jimmy Alapag answered with his own trey to stretch the gap to four with 1:09 remaining.

Mychal Ammons still kept the game interesting as he made two free throws to cut the KaTropa's deficit to two, but the Bolts made the match's last four points also on freebies even as Cliff Hodge blocked Ammons' attempt to go 2-1 up in their best-of-five affair.

Allen Durham led Meralco with 23 points, 13 rebounds, five rebounds, and one steal.

Hugnatan added 21 points, four rebounds, and two assists. Not well-known for his perimeter game, he made 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and finished 7-of-10 from the field in total.

Alapag made three treys in total, drawing him to within two three-pointers from tying Allan Caidic as the league's three-point king and three from becoming the new top guy from deep.

Castro led TNT with 28 points, two rebounds, and 10 assists.

The Bolts can close out the series on Monday night at the said venue.

Box Scores:

Meralco 119-Durham 23, Hugnatan 21, Alapag 17, Newsome 16, Hodge 13, Amer 12, Uyloan 9, Faundo 6, Nabong 2, Buenafe 0

TNT 113-Castro 28, Fonacier 20, De Ocampo 15, Williams 15, Ammons 14, Tautuaa 10, Carey 4, Ababou 3, Rosario 3, Rosser 1, Rosales 0

Quarterscores: 28-23, 50-47, 82-84, 119-113

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno