Meralco clobbers Star to move a game away from finals


MANILA — The Meralco Bolts pummeled the Star Hotshots all night long for a runaway 98-74 victory in Game 2 of their PBA Governors’ Cup best-of-5 semifinals on Tuesday night.

Now ahead 2-0 in the series, the Bolts can complete a sweep of the Hotshots and book a return trip to the Governors’ Cup finals with another win in Game 3 on Thursday night.

Unlike in Game 1 when Meralco had to whip up an endgame storm to win, the Bolts started Game 2 firing on all cylinders, ending the first quarter with a 30-11 lead and never looked back.

In that period, the Bolts nailed 12 of their 18 shots while the Hotshots only managed to convert five of their first 22 shots. The Bolts kept firing sway, leading by as many as 30 points twice, the last one at 78-48 to start the final quarter.

Allen Durham, Ranidel de Ocampo and Jared Dillinger led the Bolts, scoring 18 points apiece. Durham also grabbed a whopping 25 rebounds along with five assists in over 36 minutes.

De Ocampo was 3-of-5 from three-point range and had three boards, three assists, and one block in 26 minutes in his best game yet for Meralco.

Dillinger was even deadlier from long range, hitting six out of eight three-pointers. He also racked up four boards, and three assists, without committing a single turnover in 27 minutes.

Baser Amer once again orchestrated the Meralco offense with aplomb, finishing with 16 points, eight assists, three rebounds, and one steal. Chris Newsome added 10 markers, four boards, four assists, two steals, and one block.

The Meralco defense held Star to a dismal 31 percent shooting from the field in sharp contrast to the Bolts’ sizzling 52 percent clip.

Star’s frontliners were shut down by Meralco’s big men, with import Kristofer Acox limited to just nine points and 12 rebounds.

Compounding the Hotshots’ woes, Paul Lee reinjured his knee, forcing him to sit out the game after playing for just over three minutes and failing to score.

Mark Barroca led the Hotshots with 16 points, while reserve guard Mon Abundo scored 14 points, most of them during garbage time when Meralco’s victory was well assured.

Game on Wednesday: Barangay Ginebra Kings vs. TNT KaTropa Texters (Game of best-of-5 semifinals; Ginebra leads 1-0).