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Meralco victorious after a see-saw game against Barako



A game of runs turned into a double overtime victory for the Meralco Bolts over the Barako Bulls. Reynel Hugnatan earned MVP honors, scoring 28 points, 7 rebounds, and going 9 for 9 at the free throw line, while Chico Lanete (20 points, 2 assists), and JC Intal (20 points) carried the load for Meralco.

Barako Bulls started the game pounding the rock inside. Repeated attacks close to the basket, over the smaller Meralco team paved the way for a 22-19 lead at the waning moments of the first quarter. With time running out, R.R. Garcia bagged a buzzer-beating 3, to give Barako a 6-point lead, 25-19.

While they went inside during the first, Barako decided to attack from afar during the second quarter as they scored on four three-point shots during this time.

Halfway through the second quarter, a 10-2 run spearheaded by Carlo Lastimosa carved a 15-point lead for Barako, the biggest lead for the game, 43-28. Despite this, Meralco managed to cut the deficit to single digits before the half ended with a Simon Atkins 3, 54-45.

Meralco finally took the lead during the third quarter, thanks to a 10-0 run led by Cliff Hodge, 65-50. However, Barako went on a 9-0 run right after, 65-69. Meralco managed to claw to within two points, but a last second three by Garcia increased the lead to 5 once more, 76-71.

A team effort helped Meralco take a 6-point lead during the fourth quarter, but Barako’s Lanete and Willie Wilson helped force overtime, 90-90.

Sean Anthony and former MBA MVP Hugnatan carried the load for Meralco in overtime, scoring their team’s first 6 points, but Lanete tied the game with a last second layup, forcing a second overtime.

Meralco eventually went on a 5-0 run during the second overtime, carving a lead that they did not relent, 108-103. Lanete and Hodge traded baskets, but a Garcia triple with 5.3 seconds left in the game gave Barako a glimmer of hope to catch up. Hugnatan was fouled on the next possession, coolly sinking both free throws, securing the Meralco victory, 112-108.

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