With chance to get another title at 38, Hugnatan turns back clock

Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

BOCAUE — Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And for Reynel Hugnatan, that meant dragging his 38-year-old body and stepping up to save Meralco’s campaign yet again.

“We knew us big guys need to step up because we’re already shallow up front,” he said in Filipino after the 98-91 Game 6 victory over Ginebra.

Once again, the 6-foot-4 forward was the unlikely hero for the Bolts as he went bonkers from downtown to keep their title aspirations alive and force game 7.

READ: More than 50k fans attend Ginebra-Meralco Finals Game 6

“I’m just glad that I had a good game and a good shooting tonight,” he said.

Hugnatan shot 6-of-12 from three to finish with 24 points, seven rebounds, and four assists on Wednesday to be the perfect complement to Allen Durham’s superb inside game.

He also outplayed Ginebra behemoth Greg Slaughter, with the most glaring moment coming at one point in the second half when Hugnatan drove past the Cebuano slotman and scored on a lay-up.

At this point in the series, all the Bacolod native could think about is winning his fifth title for his career and possibly a first for the Meralco franchise.

READ: Meralco frustrates Ginebra, forces Game 7

“We really want to win this because this will be Meralco’s first. Also, I’m not getting any younger, so we don’t know when we’ll get chances like this. Now that we have a chance to get this, why not right?,” he said.

And with all eyes on the winner-take-all Game 7, Hugnatan said the key for the Bolts will be sustaining this kind of play.

“We’ll follow whatever coach’s gameplan is for us. It’s important for us not to collapse on defense because for us, it always starts on defense,” he said.


Meralco frustrates Ginebra, forces Game 7