One day before the start of Game 2 of this PBA Governors' Cup Final Four series, the only question was how to contain Allen Durham.
It was all that – talk.
The handcrafted Meralco import was fed up with TNT on Tuesday evening and ended with 44 points, 19 rebounds and 11 assists when the Bolts paved the way for the powerhouse KaTropa (114-94) to achieve these best-of-five Series knot at 1: 1. 1 in the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Meralco emerged from the gates smoking and his defense made the KaTropa look like they didn't belong on the same floor as the Bolts. He opened leads of up to 35 before playing the rest of the way on cruise control. "We were a bit rusty in Game 1," said Durham, who looked no worse after 43 minutes. He had a little less than three minutes to improve his statistics. "We had to come out with some intensity [to match TNT’s]," Durham continued. "After [the] Game 1 [loss] everyone [in the team] thought we could be better, and we did that tonight."
Baser Amer scored 20 points, Bong Quinto fired 12 and Chris Newsome added 11 when coach Norman Black contributed four of his starters, with Raymond Almazan, the Bolts' starting center, shooting nine points and clearing eight rebounds.
The winner of this series competes against the survivor of the matchup between Barangay Ginebra and NorthPort, with the Gin Kings showing some dynamism in the third game on Wednesday and ending the 1-1 draw.
The Ginebra NorthPort series opened with two routers and a combined profit margin of 79 points.
However, the Batang Pier will bear the adjustment burden in Game 3 after it has been completely outplayed by the kings.
KJ McDaniels scored 51 points for TNT, but he was the only one who clicked in the first half because he scored all but eight points in the first half of KaTropa.
"It's basketball," Black said when asked what he thought happened in the first half when his Bolts practically put the game away there. "That's all I can say, it's basketball."
Durham knows that the TNT defense in Game 3 will focus more on him, and he expects his teammates to shine even more.
"We just have to continue where we left off," he said when the Bolts fired to return to the season finale final for the first time since 2017. INQ
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