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Game Six victory exorcised the ghost of last season, says Reynel Hugnatan


For the Meralco Bolts’ elder statesman Reynel Hugnatan, winning Game Six of the 2017 Governor’s Cup Finals on Wednesday night means more than just extending the race-to-four series to a deciding Game Seven.

For the 38-year-old, it feels special, it was as if a thorn had been removed from his back.

“Sobrang laki. Kasi last championship Game Six nung nanalo sila,” recalled the 14-year veteran of the 2016 Governor’s Cup Finals, where the Bolts and their title aspirations had been shattered by Justin Brownlee’s game-winning triple.

“Nalampasan namin ‘to [ngayon], so ngayon maganda na yung posisyon namin, may chance pa kami manalo ng Finals.”

And in the series-stretching victory, Hugnatan once again showcased his veteran smarts. He finished with 24 points on 6-of-12 shooting from outside, on top of seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals in 38 minutes.

“Kailangan namin mag-step up mga big guys kasi wala na kaming big guys eh, so iniisip ko na kailangan ko mag-step up tonight,said the 19-year pro, who is filling the void left by Ranidel De Ocampo due to a season-ending calf injury.

“Buti gumanda naman yung laro ko, gumanda shooting ko. Pasalamat ako.”

Game Six was the best outing the Bolts had in this series — they showed the same form that brought them to the top seed. And this kind of performance from them has also brightened their chances of winning the crown greatly.

And if they are to bag the franchise’s first-ever PBA crown on Friday, it would mean so much for Hugnatan and the Orangemen.

#ReadMore  Despite heartbreaking end to Meralco's run, Baser Amer glad to have been part of the ride

“‘Di lang sa’kin, pati yung sa Meralco kasi kung makuha namin [yung title], first time ng franchise ‘to. Sa akin din siyempre tumatanda na tayo, ‘di natin alam kailan pa ulit magfa-Finals ang Meralco, so kumbaga may chance kami makuha ‘to,” the four-time champion said.

“Sana.”

Meralco will only be able to attain their long-time goal if they will stick with one another and to coach Norman Black’s plans, according to Hugnatan, who is currently averaging 11.7 markers and 4.8 caroms in the series.

“Kung ano yung gameplan ni coach, sundin lang namin lalo na depensa, kasi Game 7 [more on] defense na yun,” said Hugnatan.

“Yung offense naman andyan naman eh, so kailangan ‘wag kami mag-collapse sa defense.”

Written By

Oftentimes on the sidelines. Forever a student of the game. Morayta-bred.


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