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Meralco bucks sluggish Q1, steals semis Game 1 from Star

By Ivan Saldajeno

BIÑAN—Meralco started Game 1 of the PBA Governors' Cup semifinals against Star ice cold.

However, the Bolts ended the game red hot.

Meralco rallied from a lethargic first period and a late double-digit deficit to beat Star, 72-66, at the Alonte Sports Arena on Sunday night.

The Hotshots shut down the Bolts in the first quarter, keeping them scoreless in the first 6:25 of the game and limiting them to only seven points at the end of the quarter.

Meralco's offense then began to pick up in the second quarter, outscoring Star, 25-15, to cut the lead down to four, 36-32, by halftime.

The Bolts eventually got the lead in the third quarter, going on a 9-0 run midway through the period to go up, 43-41.

The match would become a seesaw encounter until the Hotshots unleashed a 14-0 run spanning through the fourth frame to take a 59-47 advantage with 9:44 to go.

Meralco went on a 6-0 run to cut the lead to just six, 59-53, only for Star to get five points back for a 64-53 edge with 5:23 to go.

Anchored by huge shots from Allen Durham, Jared Dillinger, and Ranidel De Ocampo, the Bolts finished the game on a 19-2 run, scoring the game's last 15 points, to steal the win.

Durham braved his ankle injury and led Meralco with 23 points, 16 in the second half, 23 rebounds, four assists, one block, and one steal.

Dillinger dropped eight points within the last 3:27 of the game including the go-ahead layup with 1:02 to go and finished with 15 markers with three boards, five dimes, and one steal.

Jio Jalalon led Star with 15 points, six caroms, three assists, and one steal.

Box Scores:

Meralco 72-Durham 23, Dillinger 15, Amer 10, Newsome 7, De Ocampo 5, Hodge 5, Lanete 4, Hugnatan 3, Tolomia 0, Nabong 0, Caram 0

Star 66-Jalalon 15, Lee 11, Barroca 11, Sangalang 9, Acox 7, Simon 6, Pingris 4, Reavis 1, Melton 0, Ramos 0, Dela Rosa 0

Quarterscores: 7-21, 32-36, 47-53, 72-66

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno