Durham, Bolts show tremendous heart in surviving 6 do-or-die games
Meralco got over the hump of surviving six straight do-or-die games in the PBA Governors’ Cup, and Allen Durham knows it wasn’t just talent that kept them alive in that toughest of times.
“We just got heart, we could’ve been down so many times before we got to this game but the guys they dug down,” said Durham after the Bots’ completed their semifinals bid with a 108-103 win over Phoenix in another must-win Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts had to overcome the Fuel Masters’ twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, making it an even ballgame with a 90-74 opener win.
What’s impressive about the streak is that Meralco, which is a two-time runner-up in the conference, started the eliminations at 1-6 and had to win four straight games in order to just make it to the playoffs.
Durham, a two-time Best Import, said his team has the experience to bank on in times of adversity, like in the clincher against the Fuel Masters.
After falling 91-84 with 3:01 remaining, the Bolts mounted a 10-0 run and tied the game at 94 with 19 seconds remaining after Reynel Hugnatan’s free throws.
Although Jason Perkins forced overtime with a three-pointer with 7.4 seconds left to play, momentum was already on Meralco’s side.
“This season we had trials and tribulations, we just stayed together and as a family, as one unit, and we were able to come out with a win against a very good team,” said Durham who had 32 points, 21 rebounds, and nine assists.
Meralco started overtime on a high scoring eight straight points on the back of Baser Amer’s back-to-back three-pointers to take a quick 102-94 lead.
The Bolts also held the fort on the defensive end allowing a Fuel Master field goal only after more than three minutes into overtime.
“We just got to keep fighting, whatever the score is in the end that’s something we have live with,” said Durham. “We are going to fight until the clock says zero.”
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