CHRIS Newsome insisted Meralco’s 94-86 win over Mahindra in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup opening day on Friday was hardly a statement of its potential in import-loaded conferences, stressing the Bolts were simply motivated by their embarrassing loss to Star at the end of the last Philippine Cup.
“This is definitely not a statement win,” Newsome said. “It’s just a good team win for us. We’re not really here to make any statements or anything like that. We’re just here to play Meralco basketball.”
“We ended last conference on a not-so-good note, going up against Star, so we definitely wanted to get that monkey off our back and show that our hard work was eventually going to pay off, which it did today,” the sophomore playmaker added.
Newsome was referring to the Bolts’ 120-73 beating at the hands of the Hotshots in their last game of the all-Filipino conference late January – the most lopsided result last conference.
Newsome set the tone for the opening-day win as he fired eight of his 17 points in the first quarter, before conspiring with Cliff Hodge in putting on the finishing touches at crunch time.
Last season’s Rookie of the Year finished with a 7-of-13 shooting clip, and completed an all-around showing with seven boards, seven assists, and one steal in 32 minutes as he handled the offensive duties, while import Alex Stepheson stood as the last line of defense.
“It’s a good welcome for Alex,” Newsome said. “I know he’s still trying to feel out how Philippine basketball is played, where he’s going to get his shots. It was just good for him to get a win in his first game in the PBA.”