Sigh of relief for Hugnatan as Bolts escape despite crucial foul
Reynel Hugnatan could only breathe a sigh of relief after Meralco survived with the win despite a crucial offensive foul against him.
The hulking forward was whistled with a charging foul after waving off Joe Devance with 22.6 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Bolts just up 101-100.
“Kung di tinawagan yun, di ko rin alam,” Hugnatan said, scratching his head while asking the press what they thought of the play.
The 37-year-old said he even asked Devance about the call while the referees were discussing the play: “Sabi ko sa kanya, ‘What do you think, Joe?’ Di sya nagsalita.”
Fortunately for the veteran bruiser, Justin Brownlee and Scottie Thompson muffed their shots in the ensuing possession.
Though the game still went to overtime thanks to a late LA Tenorio floater in regulation, Meralco had Allen Durham on its side as he took charge in the overtime period en route to the 114-109 Game 1 victory in the 2016 PBA Governors’ Cup Finals.
Hugnatan admitted that the loud Ginebra crowd affected the Bolts when it came to the huddles, so it was crucial for the players to talk among themselves.
“Sabi nga namin, kung ano yung tawag ng referee, di na namin pinapansin. Focus lang kami sa game,” he said. “Ang hirap kalaban ng Ginebra kasi yung crowd talaga sobrang ingay. Minsan, di na namin naririnig yung sinasabi ni coach kaya naguusap-usap talaga kami kung ano ang dapat gawin.”
Though the Bolts came away with the victory, Hugnatan still can’t wrap his head around the endgame calls which almost put him in infamy.
Asked anew if the play was a charging foul or not, Hugnatan refused to comment anymore as he left the venue smiling.