Meralco completes sweep of Star after OT thriller, returns to Govs’ Cup Finals

ByJay King

PBA Media Bureau

The Meralco Bolts knocked down huge baskets in overtime to finally slam the door on the crippled but hard-fighting Star Hotshots, 91-88, on Thursday night, thus completing a sweep of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals and booking a return trip to the finals.

Jared Dillinger broke the game’s final deadlock with a booming three-pointer to give Meralco the lead, 86-83, with 4:08 left in overtime. Ranidel de Ocampo then nailed a long two-pointer with 1:21 left, giving the Bolts a five-point cushion.

Star’s Rafi Reavis hit an undergoal stab to cut Meralco’s lead to three. But Cliff Hodge responded with a back-breaking three-pointer, giving the Bolts a 91-85 edge. Mark Barroca quickly fired a trey of his own four seconds later to revive the Hotshots’ flickering hopes.

With seven ticks left, Star won a jump ball but Jio Jalolon’s last-gasp attempt at a game-tying three-pointer was off as the final buzzer sounded.

The Bolts now await the winner of the Brgy. Ginebra-TNT series.

Allen Durham was steady as usual, leading Meralco with team-highs of 24 points and 19 rebounds along with six assists in over 46 minutes of play. Hodge added 18 markers, eight boards and three dimes. De Ocampo finished with 13 points, seven caroms and two assists while Baser Amer and Dillinger chipped in 10 markers apiece.

Meralco erected a double-digit lead in regulation, but the Hotshots fought like a wounded tiger, playing without injured star guard Paul Lee and with an ineffective import in Kris Acox.

After overhauling Meralco’s lead, the Hotshots grabbed a four-point edge, 83-79, with 2:24 left in regulation following a Jio Jalalon putback. But the Bolts managed to send the game into overtime with baskets from Chris Newsome and Durham.

Mark Barroca led Star with 21 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists and three steals. Marc Pingris added 16 markers and six boards while Jalalon had 12 points, six boards and one assist. Acox could only bleed for four points in another dismal performance.

The scores:

MERALCO 91 – Durham 24, Hodge 18, De Ocampo 13, Amer 10, Dillinger 10, Newsome 9, Hugnatan 7, Lanete 0, Tolomia 0.

STAR 88 – Barroca 21, Pingris 16, Jalalon 12, Sangalang 8, Ramos 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Acox 4, Gamalinda 3, Melton 3, Simon 0.

Quarters: 30-27, 54-43, 69-68, 83-83, 91-88.