Out to rebound from their 94-103 opening setback, the charged-up Bolts quickly launched heavy blows on the KaTropa to seize an early 19-point margin and never downshifted the rest of the way en route to tying the best-of-five affair at 1-1.
Jun Mendoza
Bolts rebound big time, rip KaTropa
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - December 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Hit by a “blackout” in Game One, Meralco Bolts ran on full power last night to make it even-steven against TNT KaTropa in the PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal series via a 114-94 rout.

Out to rebound from their 94-103 opening setback, the charged-up Bolts quickly launched heavy blows on the KaTropa to seize an early 19-point margin and never downshifted the rest of the way en route to tying the best-of-five affair at 1-1.

Allen Durham and Baser Amer formed the tip of Meralco’s red-hot attack with the two-time Best Import filling up the stats-line with 44 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists, and their top local sniper, who had nine last time, rifling in 20 markers spiked by four triples.

This the Bolts complemented with a solid defensive performance that left the explosive KaTropa choking to a 25-of-79 shooting clip (31 percent) with a relatively low 10-of-36 from beyond the arc (27.8 percent).

KJ McDaniels heavily carried the scoring load with 51 for the losing side, which was hurt by the scoreless outing from RR Pogoy and the limited seven markers of Jayson Castro who went without a field goal.

“We definitely made a better effort than the first game right from the start. There was more focus, more energy, and we played a lot more physical and executed well on offense, particularly in the first half,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, whose team forced TNT to go 15 points short of their average score and a far cry from their usual 49 percent accuracy.

“Good defensive effort and our offense was much, much better tonight,” he said.

Durham and Amer got things started with a telling 16-0 blast in the first five minutes of the game, creating an 18-3 separation.

By the quarter’s end, Meralco enjoyed a 35-16 spread, gaining from their 46.2 percent field goal shooting spiked by 5-of-10 marksmanship and a stifling defense that held TNT to a 5-of-20 shooting (25 percent) from the floor and only two-of-nine from the deep.

The Bolts continued to dominate the KaTropa in the second canto, holding them to a meager 13-pointer on a woeful 3-of-20 clip, with McDaniels the lone bright spot in the period with 11 markers.

Durham already had 21-13-6 by halftime as against McDaniels’ 19-7.

Meanwhile, after flexing their muscles in the first two games, protagonists Barangay Ginebra and NorthPort set out to prove which side has the stronger legs as they now engage in a sprint to the finish line in their side of the semis.

The Batang Pier blew by the Gin Kings in the opener, 124-90, but the crowd darlings bounced back with a 113-88 equalizer, making tonight’s 7 p.m. third encounter at the Smart Araneta Coliseum a no-holds-barred battle for control in a series that’s been reduced to a race-to-two affair.

“They had all the answers in Game One. We had all the answers in Game Two. And that usually means Game Three is going to be a huge battle and a tight game,” said Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

MERALCO BOLTS TNT KATROPA
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