Meralco Bolts stayed alive in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals after warding off the Barangay Ginebra in Game Six, 98-91, at the Philippine Arena Wednesday night.
With their tournament lives on the line, the Bolts rose to the occasion, banking on a hot start before hanging tough in the end to set up a do-or-die Game Seven and disappoint the relatively pro-Ginebra crowd of more than 53,642–a new PBA gate attendance record.
Allen Durham played for 48 minutes, putting up 28 points, 19 rebounds and three assists, but it was the locals who set the tone early for Meralco with their outside sniping.
Reynel Hugnatan finished with 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists, while Garvo Lanete wound up with 15 markers as the duo caught fire early, uncorking eight points and knocking down two triples each in the opening salvo to give Meralco a 29-17 lead.
Bolts led by as many as 20 points in quarter two, before thwarting the Gin Kings’ repeated rallies in the second half.
Ginebra came close at 86-90, with 3:45 left in the final frame on Caguioa’s jumper, but Meralco responded with an 8-2 kick punctuated by Hugnatan’s sixth and final three-pointer to close the game out.
Chris Newsome went three rebounds shy of a triple-double as as he delivered 10 points and 11 dishes, while Jared Dillinger added nine markers.
For Ginebra, it was Justin Brownlee (23 points, nine rebounds, and four assists) and Greg Slaughter (18 points and six rebounds) who carried the fight for them.
Game 7 of the championship series is on Friday evening, October 27, also at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.
MERALCO 98 – Durham 28, Hugnatan 24, Lanete 15, Newsome 10, Dillinger 9, Hodge 6, Amer 6, Caram 0.
GINEBRA 91 – Brownlee 23, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 12, Thompson 12, Devance 11, Aguilar 6, Caguioa 6, Ferrer 3, Taha 0.
Quarter scores: 29-17, 54-37, 75-69, 98-91.