From the depths, in the depths of the No 7 seed, Meralco finished its rise to reach the semi-finals of the PBA Governors Cup.
Bollarna made the first eight points for overtime and then worsened a strong Phoenix match-back to create a pulsating 108-103 quarterfinals victory Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The balls were burned by the fuel giants twice as high as setting a date with Alaska in the mid-half. The two teams kick their duel on Sunday.
"What hill did we have to climb to get to this point," coach Norman Black said. "There was really not much room for error."
Allen Durham, twice recognized as Best Import but also twice denied by the championship of Barangay Ginebra in the last two releases of this conference, refused to release the chance to come back to their plagues. He registers a game high 32 points to go with 21 rebounds.
Bases Amer was featured in Meralco's blowering start during overtime, drainage back-to-back triples that generated separation from Phoenix, 102-94.
But Matthew Wright and Calvin Cabueva combined for one last blunt attempt to snuggle what could have been a franchise milestone for the fuel masters: a semifinal quayside.
The duo had Phoenix within four, 104-100, but Durham had other plans. Following anchoring Bolt's defense, he continued drilling the two freebies who sealed Meralco's deal.
"Much of this turn was built on the production of Allen, which was really strong for us," said Black.
The balls won their sixth straight game-all do-or-die-after a 1-6 start. And Black credited the bolts' return to a renewed commitment to the defense.
"Guys started buying again and suddenly we started to defend well," Black explained.
At the same time, Tim Cone Barangay Ginebra's well-oiled machine like lobster is good, it would be a shame if they can not drive all the way to the crown.
"We are playing well and we hope we can keep it," said the grizzled tactician last Tuesday shortly after the defending conference champions Gin Kings had been ruled to the semifinals.
And in their way is a very familiar enemy.
"We got Magnolia next. It's always an incredible series. It's just game of the game," said Cone.
Gin Kings and Hotshots, the protagonists of a modern rivalry, who have their own moniker, "Manila Clasico", figure in a fifth-century series that ranks on Saturday 6:30 pm. at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
"It's nice to be back in the semifinal," said Magnolia coach Chito Victolero. "We missed the semifinal last conference."
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