Bolts hold off Floodbuster to start Commissioner's Cup
Paul Lintag on Mar 17, 2017 06:28 PM
Meralco is off and running in the mid-season tournament after beating Mahindra.
Last season, the import-laced conference was when Meralco started turning things around.
It looks like the same thing still apply for for the Bolts one year later.
Meralco started the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup on a winning note, holding off a pesky Mahindra side, 94-86, Friday at the Big Dome.
"We needed it. We worked very hard in the offseason to try to improve our game," head coach Norman Black said.
The Bolts were in control for majority of the game, taking their biggest lead at 14 in the first half, 44-30.
Despite the Floodbuster making a run here and there, Meralco was able to answer everything to put up a rather safe distance all the way to the final buzzer.
Baser Amer was at the forefront of the Meralco offense as the sophomore point guard finished with a team-high 19 points.
Reigning Rookie of the Year Chris Newsome also had himself a solid outing, putting up 17 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.
Bolts import Alex Stephenson struggled in his first PBA game, scoring only 11 points but he did grab 21 rebounds, anchoring Meralco from the middle.
"We still need to give Alex time to get in shape, need to work on his conditioning," Black said of his team's reinforcement. "But in terms of him controlling the defensive boards, he really helps us in that area."
Meanwhile, returning Mahindra import James White picked up where he left off from his last PBA stint and dropped 33 points and 16 rebounds for the Floodbuster albeit in a losing effort.
Alex Mallari backed him up with 21 points off the bench but no other Mahindra player cracked double-digits.
MERALCO 94 - Amer 19, Newsome 17, Stepheson 11, Caram 10, Hodge 9, Chua 8, Dillinger 8, Uyloan 6, Hugnatan 4, Nabong 2, Daquioag 0, Faundo 0.
MAHINDRA 86 - White 33, Mallari 21, Celda 9, Galanza 9, Arana 5, Salva 3, Ballesteros 2, Nimes 2, Deutchman 2, Paniamogan 0, Revilla 0, Caperal 0, David 0, Yee 0.
Quarters: 22-18, 44-33, 66-58, 94-86.
Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8