By: Bong Paredes / @hoopslocale
Coming in to the game flat after losing game 1 convincingly wasn’t exactly where Coach Norman Black wanted his team to be, and it looked like they were about to have another long night early on as Ginebra looked good early behind the early efforts of LA Tenorio (16 pts, 4 rebs, 2 asts and 2 stls) that hit 4 three pointers in the first half and Arvin Tolentino (9pts, 7 rebs, 4 asts).
Outside Cliff Hodge (12 pts, 11 rebs, 2 stls), every Meralco player seemed off-sync and timid until Reynel Hugnatan (9pts, 9 rebs, 5 asts) and Bong Quinto (14 pts, 6 rebs, 3 asts) came out strong early in the 2nd quarter to keep the Gin Kings from pulling away. Ginebra led as much as 8 in the 2nd quarter thanks to Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar (17 pts and 8 rebs) who imposed his will in the paint for the period. Ginebra led by 8 points (50-42) entering the 2nd half.
Meralco started the 3rd with 2 straight turnovers , but Ginebra also failed to capitalize on the Bolts’ slow start. That was when Chris Newsome jump started the Bolts’ run by scoring 9 points in the 3rd period. Allein Maliksi (14 pts and 2 rebs) also hit a couple of threes when the Gin Kings switched to a 2-3 zone to contain Newsome. Raymond Almazan (11 pts and 11 rebs) and Quinto also found the gaps in the zone to steal the lead from Ginebra at the end of the 3rd quarter with the score of 65-61.
Meralco never looked back from there and they out hustled Ginebra the rest of the way. Pringle struggled with Quinto’s defense, and Ginebra’s spacing also did not help. Baser Amer (10 pts) joined Almazan, Hugnatan and Maliksi to close the game strong and prevented themselves from falling into an 0-2 hole entering game 3 this Sunday.