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Hugnatan winner sends Meralco-Ginebra semis to decider

Reynel Hugnatan won it for the Bolts. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--In an awkward sequence in Game 3 of the PBA semifinals between Meralco and Ginebra, a Bolt called out a referee for what he perceived as spotty officiating that favored the Barangay a lot.

With no video footage to confirm who shouted the detrimental words through national television and live streams, Commissioner Willie Marcial spared Meralco of penalties ahead of Game 4.

And on Wednesday night, the Bolts made sure they will decide their own fate.

Meralco banked on late heroics to steal Game 4 from Ginebra through an 83-80 win at the Angeles University Foundation Sports and Cultural Center.

Reynel Hugnatan scored the eventual game winner with 15 seconds left as the Bolts recovered from the Barangay's second half onslaught that put them at the cusp of clinching the best-of-five series.

Raymond Almazan then saved the game after blocking Stanley Pringle's followup leading to Chris Newsome's dagger layup.

Hugnatan finished with 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists for Meralco, which sent its semifinal series to a fifth and deciding game on Friday night.

Newsome and Cliff Hodge each added 16 points with the former grabbing 11 rebounds for the double-double.

Pringle led Ginebra with 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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