Hugnatan relishes role as Meralco’s floor spacer in Finals series
Meralco’s Reynel Hugnatan is not the same player who had the role of enforcer for the Coca-Cola and Alaska teams of yesteryears.
Hugnatan has transformed from a bruiser in the interior to the Bolt’s reliable floor spacer.
And in Game 4 of the PBA Governors’ Cup finals series between Meralco and Ginebra, Hugnatan’s floor spacing was in full effect.
Hugnatan practically made things easier for Allen Durham underneath as it left the Bolts’ import just one defender to deal with.
“I watched the tapes of our previous games and I think what I did in my floor spacing was very important because AD was able to freely move inside,” said Hugnatan in Filipino Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“And during the game I was just telling myself that I should be able to shoot the ball from deep so AD would be open.”
Hugnatan finished with 14 points, 12 coming from deep, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals as he helped the Bolts to an 85-83 win to tie the series at 2-2.
And Hugnatan’s presence on the floor allowed Durham to finish with a team-high 28 points and 18 rebounds.
“What happened was, Ginebra’s bigs were forced to go outside and if they stay in the middle I would be left open from deep,” said Hugnatan, who had seven seasons in his 19-year career where he finished with a zero percent clip from long distance.
“And if Ginebra’s big men start guarding me outside, I’ll just pass it inside to AD who will just contend one-on-one against whoever’s defending him.”
A crucial play between Meralco’s big men happened with 47 seconds left in the game when Hugnatan, who was standing at the top of the key, forced Ginebra power forward Japeth Aguilar to closeout on him allowing Durham space inside for the game’s final field goal.