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Sports

Bolts strike back  

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Bolts strike back   
Meralco forward Cliff Hodge goes strong to the basket versus TNT’s Calvin Oftana.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Vengeful Meralco returned the favor on its sibling rival, hanging tough for a 124-117 overtime win over TNT Tropang Giga in Game 2 of their PBA Governors’ Cup semifinal clash last night at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

The Bolts, who absorbed a nasty 110-80 beating in the opener, waxed hot early but needed an explosive finish in extra session to make it 1-1 in the race-to-three semis for a shot at the season-ending tourney crown against the winner in the Ginebra-San Miguel matchup.

KJ McDaniels unleashed a monstrous outing of 39 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks while Aaron Black finished with a 28-5-10 line including a string of crucial buckets in overtime to spearhead the Bolts’ escape and successful revenge.

Cliff Hodge threw in 15 points, nine boards and two blocks with Bong Quinto and Allein Maliksi producing 11 apiece as Meralco avoided a 0-2 hole.

“I was hoping we would come out with more energy today. We had a hard game against Magnolia before Game 1 and it showed. Strategy-wise, we just wanted to get back on defense, which we did poorly in Game 1. That’s the first step,” said coach Norman Black.

“Offensively, Aaron had a big game. A lot of other guys stepped up and KJ played much better than Game 1. That gave us a big lift.”

Meralco, indeed, imposed its defensive clamp on the usual fiery TNT squad – especially in overtime by allowing only five points.

Later, reigning champion Barangay Ginebra eked out another dominant win against San Miguel, 121-103, to move on the cusp of a finals return.

Import Justin Brownlee and Christian Standhardinger wreaked havoc with 32 points each while Scottie Thompson scattered a 21-11-11 triple-double plus three steals and two blocks for the Gin Kings.

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