Meralco draws first blood in semis series against Star
BIÑAN CITY, Philippines —The Meralco Bolts lived up to their billing as the best defensive team in the league as they kept the Star Hotshots scoreless in the last 3 minutes en route to a 72-66 win in Game 1 of their best-of-five semis series in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup at the Alonte Sports Arena Sunday, October 1.
Trailing by 9 points with 3 minutes left, 57-66, Meralco forced 3 straight turnovers that resulted in three straight three-pointers, two from Jared Dillinger and one from Ranidel de Ocampo, to tie the game at 66-all.
Star committed another turnover that led to a Dillinger go-ahead layup before Allen Durham scored a jumper off another Hotshots turnover to give the Bolts a comfortable 70-66 advantage with 33.2 seconds remaining.
“They really hits us hard in the beginning of the game and took us out of our offense,” said Meralco coach Norman Black. “We just focused on our defense and how to defend them.”
Star ended the first quarter with a 21-7 lead after Meralco buried only 2 of its 18 attempts. The Bolts fought back and outscored the Hotshots, 25-15, to have their deficit trimmed to just 4 points entering the break, 32-36.
Durham scored 10 of his game-high 23 points in the final period on top of 23 rebounds and 4 assists while Dillinger chalked up 15 points, 8 of which came in the final 3 minutes, and a game-high 5 assists.
Jio Jalalon paced the Hotshots with 15 points while Mark Barroca and Paul Lee chipped in 11 markers apiece. Import Kristofer Acox did not do much for the Star offensively as he finished with only 7 points on a 3-of-8 shooting.
Both teams were pretty much tied in almost all aspects of the low-scoring game but it all boiled down in the assists department as Star had only 9 assists compared to Meralco’s 18.
Game 2 will be held on Tuesday at the Sta. Rosa Multipurpose Complex in Laguna.
Meralco (72): Durham 23, Dillinger 15, Amer 10, Newsome 7, De Ocampo 5, Hodge 5, Lanete 4, Hugnatan 3, Caram 0, Tolomia 0, Nabong 0
Star (66): Jalalon 15, Barroca 11, Lee 11, Sangalan 9, Acox 7, Simon 6, Pingris 4, Brondial 2, Reavis 1, dela Rosa 0, Melton 0, Ramos 0.
Quarter scores: 7-21, 32-36, 47-53, 72-66. – Rappler.com