DO-it-all American import Allen Durham believed the Meralco Bolts got the short end of a “really bad”
officiating down the stretch of their Game 5 duel with the Ginebra Gin Kings before a mammoth crowd of
36,445 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan last Sunday night.
“I think down the stretch officiating was really bad,” lamented the hard-working Durham,
moments after the Bolts fell to the Kings, 74-85, and found themselves trailing by one win again (3-2)
in the best-of-seven championship series.
“I’m not complaining about the officials but you can’t call a finals (game) like that,” the
import told Gerry Ramos of Spin.ph.
Despite finding themselves buried under a 17-point deficit in the second half, the Bolts
rallied and moved within striking distance of the Kings in the fourth period only to stagger again
under the weight of a 10-1 blast by the Kings.
That decisive run gave the Kings an 84-71 edge after leading by only four points entering the
final two minutes of the game, to the cheers of the Ginebra fans in a crowd which went down on record
as the second biggest to watch a PBA game.
The biggest ever was recorded in 2014 when 52,612 fans trooped to the same Bocaue arena to
watch the opening game of the season between Ginebra and Talk ’N Text.
Durham disagreed with several of the calls against the Bolts, including the sixth and final
foul slapped on Chris Newsome in the 3:09 of the game off Ginebra center Greg Slaughter.
But Durham was honest enough to admit that his team’s slow, scrambling start worked against
them like deadweight as they went tired, too tired at the effort of rallying in the third period.
“It was tough, they placed us in a hole early,” he said.
The two-time Best Import awardee also lamented that none among the Bolts really got in the
scoring act, with sophomore Garvo Lanete the only local to finish in double figures with 11 points.
“I think we have to hit a couple more shots,” said Durham. “We just got to play better. We
can’t beat them like that (in the finals).”
The two teams return to the Philippine Arena tomorrow to play Game 6, with the Kings seeking
the title and the Bolts eyeing to win and fight another day.