Bolts notch semis berth
Order is restored.
Top seed Meralco avoided a major power interruption by frustrating upset-minded Blackwater, 104-96, Thursday night and arranging a semifinal duel with the Star Hotshots in the PBA Governors’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
But the euphoria should be short-lived as the Bolts are facing a big possibility of missing import Allen Durham when they face the Hotshots on Sunday at the start of their best-of-five semifinal duel.
“That’s going to be tough particularly if AD (Durham) can’t play 100 percent,” said Meralco coach Norman Black of his reinforcement, who sprained his ankle late in the third quarter.
Black said they have no immediate plans in case Durham can’t play at all.
Black said that compared to the Elite, who relied heavily on import Henry Walker, the Hotshots “got a lot of players who can score.” “Locals contribute a lot in the game,” he said. “It’s a different animal for us.”
Walker unloaded 27 points in the first half as Blackwater threatened to nullify Meralco’s twice-to-beat advantage and become only the fourth eighth-seed team to upset the No. 1 squad.
But Meralco put the reliable, all-purpose veteran Ranidel de Ocampo on the former New York Knicks player and managed to slow him down with just seven points in the final half.
That paved the way for the Bolts’ charge, which was anchored on Baser Amer, who finished with a career-high 31 points, and Jared Dillinger, who threw down five three-pointers.
“We showed a lot of heart,” said Black. “For a while there we couldn’t do anything right and we’re like floating in the water. But we remained as calm as possible.”
Dillinger, who made all his points from the three-point range, said “it’s very bizarre now that it all depends on how AD is feeling.”
“It’s back to work in the semifinals,” Dillinger added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.