Reynel Hugnatan drained the go-ahead basket with 15.1 seconds left on the game clock as Meralco outlasted Brgy. Ginebra, 83-80, in Game 4 of the semifinal round of the 2020 PBA Philippine Cup, Wednesday at the Angeles University Foundation Sports Arena and Cultural Center in Angeles City, Pampanga.
The 42-year old Hugnatan, who was on the receiving end of the ‘lutong-luto’ controversy which happened during the previous game, came through with 19 big points off the bench to lead the Bolts to their 3rd straight victory in do-or-die matches and another shot at the Gin Kings for the right to play in the championship round of the compressed All-Filipino conference.
“Chris (Newsome) was supposed to come off Reynel’s screen and (if) he was open, he was supposed to take it. If he was not open, then he should look for Reynel, because that meant that both defenders probably went with Newsome and Reynel would be open,” explained Meralco coach Norman Black during the post-game presser.
“They executed it well but of course you still got to make the shot — no matter how well you execute, you got to make the shot to finish the play — and that’s a huge shot for Reynel Hugnatan,” he added.
Raymond Almazan rejected Stanley Pringle’s potential game-winning basket to preserve the win for the Bolts.
“That was a huge block by Raymond. He’s really our inside defender, a guy we count on to be the last line of defense around the basket. He’s still not 100% yet, but he’s getting better. And that was just a huge defensive play for us,” said Black.
Pringle led the way for the Gin Kings with 18 points but shot a dismal 7-of-19 from the field. The high-scoring Fil-Am also contributed 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals. Jared Dillinger had his best performance in a Brgy. Ginebra uniform as the former Meralco player finished with 15 points with 11 coming in the 3rd. Scottie Thompson and Japeth Aguilar chipped in 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The final game of the best-of-five series is set on Friday, November 27, 6:30pm at the same venue.
Meralco 83 – Hugnatan 19, Hodge 16, Newsome 16, Almazan 11, Maliksi 8, Amer 4, Pinto 3, Black 2, Quinto 2, Jamito 2, Jackson 0, Caram 0.
Brgy. Ginebra 80 – Pringle 18, Dillinger 15, Thompson 13, J. Aguilar 12, Tenorio 8, Caperal 8, Mariano 6, Tolentino 0, Devance 0.
Quarterscores: 26-21; 44-31; 60-64; 83-80.