Meralco zaps TNT to tie series behind Black Magic



AARON BLACK and Cliff Hodge displayed extraordinary game as Meralco bounced back to defeat TNT Tropang Giga in overtime, 124-117, and tie the series in Game 2 of the semifinals of Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup on Sunday at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City.

Black played the game of his life, scattering six of his career-high tying 28 points in the extension frame and dishing out 10 assists, while the battle-scarred Hodge posted 15 points to help the Bolts comeback from a frustrating 80-110 beating in Game 1 to equalize the series to 1-1. 

“A lot of energy in this game than last game that we’re slow,” Black said, who also shot 12-of-19 from the field and had five rebounds. “So we have to move the ball and get back to play defense to tie this series.”

Hodge, who collected nine rebounds and two blocks, also delivered four crucial points in OT plus a block to Mikey Williams. 

Import KJ McDaniels erupted for 39 points, got 20 rebounds, four assists, three steals and three blocks to lead the Bolts, who played with great defense. 

“I was hoping we will come out with energy today and strategy wise we just want to go back to defense. KJ [McDaniels] played much better today than game one,” Meralco coach Norman Black said, referring to McDaniels’ 12 points and 14 rebounds Game 1 performance. 

TNT’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied his third straight triple-double of 22 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists plus two steals and two blocks, but his miss free throw in the regulation would haunt him in this game.

Hollis-Jefferson got fouled by Bong Quinto hard made a split free throw in the last seven seconds, tying the count to just 112-all with seven ticks left in the fourth quarter. Hodge also shook off a dangerous awkward fall after the back of his head hit hard on the floor during that play.

But he rose up and returned in action in overtime. 

“Cliff is bionic but we will check it later,” Black said. 

Allein Maliksi and Quinto contributed 11 points each also for Meralco. 

Mikey Williams finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and six assists for TNT. 

Game 3 is set on Wednesday 5:45 pm at the Araneta Coliseum.

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