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Bolts win in OT, sweep Hotshots for finals comeback

Cliff Hodge of the Meralco Bolts during the Game 3 of their semifinal series with Star Hotshots, Thursday night at the Big Dome. | PBA Images

MANILA, Philippines — The Meralco Bolts outlasted the Star Hotshots in overtime, 91-88, to return to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.Meralco Bolts outlasted the Star Hotshots in overtime, 91-88, to return to the PBA Governors’ Cup Finals Thursday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Averting a meltdown that would’ve extended the series, the Bolts’ Chris Newsome hit a layup at the 1:22 mark of the payoff period to knot it at 83.

Jared Dillinger scored a triple early in the extra period while his teammates kept the Hotshots scoreless up until the final minute.

Star’s Raffi Reavis arrested his team’s dry spell with 36 ticks left in the extra period to cut the lead to just three, but Cliff Hodge hit a dagger trey that eventually sent the Hotshots packing home.

Mark Barroca canned in a late 3-pointer and scored a steal at the final sixth-second mark, but the Hotshots just couldn’t make a look to force another overtime.

"Tonight’s game is a little bit what I expected. I never expected Star to easily give up. We really had to gut it out. It was a hard-fought win for us but it was really worth it,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.

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"We struggled with our shooting tonight, and had a hard time executing. But in the end, the defense held up,” he said, noting of the only two baskets allowed by the Bolts in the extra period.

The Bolts thus have secured the first Finals berth. They will be taking on the winner of the TNT KaTropa-Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings best-of-five series, which is currently knotted at 1-1.

Meralco faced the Gin Kings and fell in last year’s title showdown where Justin Brownlee scripted a storybook finish in Game Six to end Ginebra's title drought.

The scores:

MERALCO 91 - Durham 24, Hodge 18, De Ocampo 13, Amer 10, Dillinger 10, Newsome 9, Hugnatan 7, Lanete 0, Tolomia 0.

STAR 88 - Barroca 21, Pingris 16, Jalalon 12, Sangalang 8, Ramos 8, Dela Rosa 7, Reavis 6, Acox 4, Gamalinda 3, Melton 3, Simon 0.

Quarters: 30-27, 54-43, 69-68, 91-88.

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