MERALCO gained a measure of vengeance as it frustrated defending champion Barangay Ginebra, 93-78, on Sunday in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts withstood the early stand of the rejigged Gin Kings in a rematch of last year's Governor's Cup finals, before pouncing on their opponents who are still adjusting to the return of Greg Slaughter, to surprisingly cruise to their second straight win.
Allen Durham flexed his muscles as he scattered 30 points and 24 boards and missed a triple-double by just one assist, while Jared Dillinger, and Chris Newsome also delivered for the Bolts, who joined NLEX and Phoenix on top of the standings.
“We haven’t beaten Ginebra this season, so it was more about just getting a wing tonight,” Bolts coach Norman Black said as his team won against the Gin Kings for the first time since October 12 or Game Three of the last Governors’ Cup Finals.
“It was an ‘us-against-the-the world’ attitude that we brought tonight considering the crowd,” he added. “That’s just the way you play Ginebra.”
The Bolts trailed, 30-19, late in the first quarter, but found their groove in the middle quarters where they outscored the Gin Kings, 51-25, to build a lead as many as 19 points to complete a 30-point turnaround.
LA Tenorio led the Gin Kings with 16 points built around three treys, along with two assists, but import Justin Brownlee was held to just 13 points on 5-of-15 shooting, against six boards and three assists, and two steals – typifying the uncharacteristic play of his squad.
Slaughter, playing in his first official game in 10 months after recovering from a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), made a an early statement as he scored the game’s first basket off a hi-low play and finished with 14 points, 14 boards, three blocks, and one assist in 30 minutes.
MERALCO 93 – Durham 30, Dillinger 17, Newsome 16, Hodge 10, Amer 8, Hugnatan 5, Nabong 4, Lanete 3, Caram 0, Chua 0, Atkins 0, Faundo 0, Sedurifa 0
GINEBRA 78 – Tenorio 16, Slaughter 14, Brownlee 13, Thompson 9, Mercado 8, Aguilar 6, Ellis 6, Marcelo 4, Taha 2, Mariano 0, Devance 0, Caguioa 0
Quarterscores: 21-32, 43-45, 72-57, 93-78