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Reynel owes it to Black

MANILA, Philippines — Meralco forward Reynel Hugnatan is in his 14th PBA season and will turn 39 next Friday but he’s feeling like he’s never felt before in his long pro career with Game 7 of the Governors Cup Finals set to unfold at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan tonight.

Hugnatan has played on three title squads, once with Coca-Cola under coach Chot Reyes and twice with Alaska under coach Tim Cone. He knows the vibes of being in the Finals and would like nothing more than to win a first-ever crown for Meralco. Besides, his last championship came in 2010 when he was still with the Aces so another jewel is way overdue.

Reynel Hugnatan. Inquirer.net photo
Standing in Meralco’s way to the throne is Barangay Ginebra with Cone at the helm. In the same conference last season, Ginebra beat Meralco, 4-2, in the Finals. Both teams are back in the fray with the same imports as Meralco looks for redemption and Ginebra for retention.

Hugnatan hasn’t started a game this conference and in the first two games of the Finals, scored only two points. But since Ranidel de Ocampo went down with a calf injury early in Game 3, Hugnatan has stepped up to average 17 points.  In the Finals, he’s shooting 48.7 percent from beyond the arc. He compiled 24 points, seven rebounds and four assists in Meralco’s 98-91 win over Ginebra in Game 6 before an all-time record crowd of 53,642 at the Philippine Arena last Wednesday. The victory paved the way for a winner-take-all Game 7.

Hugnatan said he’s dedicating his title crusade to his parents in Bacolod, his teammates who haven’t won a title, the bosses in the Meralco organization, the Bolts’ fans and Meralco senior vice president Al Panlilio. After Game 6, his father Raymundo and younger brother Ryan texted to say they’re flying in from Bacolod to watch the closer at the Arena tonight. The oldest of four, Hugnatan said he owes Meralco coach Norman Black for giving him the freedom to shoot the three.

Author: Joaquin Henson, Philippine Star
Full Article: http://www.philstar.com/sports/2017/10/27/1752968/reynel-owes-it-black

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