The Meralco Bolts are determined to squeeze out something special in their first all-Filipino playoffs in five years.
Ageless warrior Reynel Hugnatan and rookie Aaron Black best typified that deep desire, combining for 30 points including key hits at endgame as the Bolts forced a rubber versus the San Miguel Beermen in their matchup with a 78-71 win at the Smart 5G-powered AUF Sports Center Friday.
“The guys played with a lot of heart out there. They just played hard,” said coach Norman Black as his troops stalled the Beermen and set the do-or-die setto Sunday.
We didn’t shoot well but our defense held up,” Black added.
Just like the Beermen, the Bolts struggled with their shooting but did play well on the defensive end and make crucial shots at the finish.
They were protecting a slim 71-67 lead when Hugnatan knocked in a perimeter shot then Black banged in a three-pointer paving the way for their escape.
Black pumped in three treys overall and finished with 14 markers and three rebounds that served as a belated gift to his dad.
“Yesterday (Friday) was my birthday but I take this gift even if it came a day late,” said the older Black.