Sol Mercado delivered in the stretch as Brgy. Ginebra survived another tough stand by Meralco, 82-79, to tie the 2016 PBA Governors Cup Finals at one game apiece before a big Sunday crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mercado cleaned up the board and scored on a putback with 29 seconds left that broke a 79-deadlock while the Gin Kings tightened up on defense with newly minted Best Import Allen Durham missed on the other end. LA Tenorio split his charities in the last 13.4 seconds for a three-point buffer that was enough for the Kings to get the much needed victory.
The Bolts still had a chance to send the game into overtime but missed two three-point attempts before buzzer.
Justin Brownlee redeemed himself from a lackluster PBA Finals debut with 32 points and 12 rebounds but it was Mercado who saved the Gin Kings from what could have been another monumental collapse after erecting a 15-point lead in the third quarter. Mercado finished with 12 points and six rebounds, two on the offensive end as the Gin Kings dominated the hustle stats with 21-2 second chance points.