Bolts eye equalizer; Fajardo 4-time MVP
WITH their championship series far from over, Barangay Ginebra and Meralco both seek some much-needed leverage in the resumption of their best-of-seven finale in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup.
After the Bolts made a series out of it, they now look for a follow-up to equalize even as the Gin Kings attempt to bounce back when they meet in Game 4 at 7 p.m. todat at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Prior to that, the annual Leo Awards will take place first at 5:30 p.m. where the highest individual awards will be given including the Most Valuable Player, the Mythical Team, the Rookie of the Year and the Most Improved Player, among others.
San Miguel Beer star June Mar Fajardo is poised to take home his fourth straight Most Valuable Player and break his own record as the only cager in league history to win the coveted award that many times in succession. He is also set to tie legends Alvin Patrimonio and Mon Fernandez with most the MVP titles.
Meralco coach Norman Black hopes that his wards can keep the fire burning for them to be able to square the series up heading into the weekend.
“We played defense and played hard for 48 minutes to take the last game. We need to do the same thing again to tie and completely get back in the series,” said Black.
The Bolts reduced the Gin Kings’ lead to 2-1 after a resounding victory in Game 3 Wednesday night.
Meralco reversed its fortunes and took charge down the stretch to take a 94-81 victory and get back in the series through Best Import Allen Durham’s dominant 38 points and 20 rebounds.
But the story of that win is old reliable Reynel Hugnatan’s breakout game of the conference. The crafty veteran stepped up and unleashed 22 points on seven drained triples to power the Bolts to the much-needed victory.
Hugnatan effectively filled in the void left by Ranidel De Ocampo, who strained his calf and left Game 3 early. De Ocampo might be lost for the series.
“He (De Ocampo) injured his calf and we’re expecting the worst. He might be out for the series,” said Black of his versatile forward.
For Ginebra, it was in control in Game 3 for some parts and it actually had five players scoring in double-digits. But it lost steam down the stretch.
The Gin Kings now look to once again move closer to retaining their championship.
Ginebra coach Tim Cone refused to talk to the media after his team’s Game 3 loss, apparently pissed off at Meralco for calling a timeout late in the game with the outcome already decided.
7 p.m. Meralco vs Ginebra