The Meralco Bolts execute in the end game, level series at 2-2

Meralco 85 – Ginebra 83, Series is tied at 2-2

The Meralco Bolts displayed more poise and composure than Barangay Ginebra in the end game. Their clutch baskets in the final seconds of Game 4 helped them escape with a win, tying the series at two games apiece.

Allen Durham came alive in the second half. He only had six points heading into halftime. But he got started in the third quarter. He scored six straight points on midrange jumpers to help build an eight-point lead. Durham added four more points after a Reynel Hugnatan three-pointer and a Chris Newsome layup to give his team a 13-point lead, their biggest in the second half.

With Ginebra reeling, Coach Tim Cone put in an old reliable in Mark Caguioa. The Spark teamed up with Justin Brownlee on a run to end the third period. Ginebra was able to cut the lead to just five points heading into the final quarter. They proceeded to tie the game and turn it into a back-and-forth affair in the final minutes of the game.

Newsome hit a jumper to give Meralco the lead but Brownlee rumbled down the lane for a dunk on the other end to tie it back up. Ginebra forced a turnover and went into a set play that got Japeth Aguilar an alley-oop and-one dunk off a lob by Brownlee. That give Ginebra a three-point lead in the last two minutes. Off a timeout, Durham answered right back with his own and-one hoop but missed the free throw to bring Meralco to within one.

SLAM-8

The Bolts got the ball back after LA Tenorio missed a three-pointer and ran a play for Durham to suck the entire Ginebra defense. He then kicked out to a wide-open Baser Amer for a three-pointer that gave Meralco a two-point lead. Brownlee tied the game on free throws but Durham hit a tough looping layup to take the lead once again. That set-up the crazy sequence to end the game.

With a little over thirty seconds left in the game, Ginebra opted not to call a timeout and tried to retake the lead with three-pointers. Scottie Thompson and Sol Mercado missed their attempts. Newsome got the rebound with 20 seconds left and pitched it ahead to Dillinger. Mercado hustled back to block the shot giving possession back to Ginebra. They still didn’t call a timeout and went straight to their offensive end. Brownlee got the ball in the dying seconds but couldn’t find the basket in time. Meralco survived the Ginebra late game rally to win the game.

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