Meralco sweeps Star to return to the Governor’s Cup Finals

Meralco 91 – Star 88, Meralco advances to the Finals

Ranidel De Ocampo, Jared Dillinger and Cliff Hodge all hit big shots in the overtime period to help the Meralco Bolts sweep the Star Hotshots. The Meralco locals did the heavy lifting late in the game to help their team advance to the Governor’s Cup Finals for the second straight year.

It was a tight game early in the first period as both teams executed their offense well. The Hotshots used a post oriented attack around Marc Pingris while the Bolts centered their offense around the playmaking of Allen Durham. Meralco started connecting on more outside shots in the second quarter. They were able to build an eight-point lead as their midrange jumpers and shots from beyond the arc were hitting their mark. near the end of the half, Allen Durham bulldozed his way into the paint and got fouled as he hit his layup to give the Bolts a double-digit lead heading into halftime.

The Hotshots locals refused to be blown out by the Bolts. Mark Barroca, Jio Jalalon and Pingris teamed up to pressure Meralco and push the pace. The double-headed guard attack by Star got them back in the game as they were only down by one-point heading into the final period.

The game was tight until late in the fourth period when Jalalon hit a straightaway three-pointer to give Star a four-point lead. Baser Amer answered back with a fastbreak layup to cut the deficit down but Jalalon recovered a miss and scored on a floater to bring the lead back up to two possessions. Durham powered his way into the paint once again and Newsome followed suit to tie the game at 83. Durham had a chance to win the game but his corner jumper was short, sending the game into overtime.

In the extra period, it was the Meralco locals that stepped up. Jared Dillinger scored on a tough contested triple to break the deadlock. De Ocampo scored on a long jumper from the top of the key to increase the lead up to five points. A Rafi Reavis shot up close cut the lead down back to three points but Hodge scored the dagger in the next play. He took a handoff from the right side, found himself open and launched a three-pointer to give the Bolts enough breathing room. Barroca hit a three-pointer to cut the deficit back down to three but the Hotshots couldn’t get another good look at the basket in the endgame.

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