BLACKWATER defeated Meralco, 94-91, in overtime in Ray Parks’ first game in the PBA on Sunday in the Commissioner’s Cup opener at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Parks had an impressive debut in the PBA as the three-time Asean Basketball League MVP finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and three steals in his first outing with the Elite.
Mac Belo broke a 91-91 deadlock with a putback with 32.4 seconds left and Mike DiGregorio sank two free throws with 17.7 seconds left in the extra period for a 95-91 advantage. With the Elite up three, Meralco import Gani Lawal missed a triple in the Bolts’ final possession.
It was also an auspicious debut for Aris Dimaunahan as he picked up a win in his first game as an interim coach of Blackwater.
Alex Stepheson had 21 points and 31 rebounds against his former team, while DiGregorio had 21 points including 5 of 9 from threes for the Elite, who trailed by as many as 11 points in the game to pull off the victory.
“I’m just happy that the players stuck together even though na nalamangan kami ng Meralco which is a very strong team with very, very good coach,” said Dimaunahan. “I have to give it to the players for sticking to the game plan. Even though we were down, they stuck together and executed our offense.”
The Bolts had a 50-39 lead, but the Elite were able to come back and take an 84-78 lead with 2:27 left in regulation. But the Bolts were able to tie the game at 85 on a bucket by Lawal, but were unable to grab the win after Trevis Jackson missed in the last play of regulation.
Blackwater, however, closed the game as the Elite finally took control of the match after that 89-89 deadlock.
Lawal had 34 points and 21 rebounds, while Mike Tolomia had 11 points for the Bolts.
Blackwater 94 – DiGregorio 21, Stepheson 21, Parks 20, Maliksi 12, Belo 6, Sumang 4, Sena 4, Dario 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Alolino 1, Cortez 0, Tratter 0, Javier 0.
Meralco 91 – Lawal 34, Tolomia 11, Jackson 8, Pinto 7, Salva 5, Newsome 5, Hodge 4, Amer 4, Hugnatan 4, De Ocampo 4, Canaleta 3, Caram 2, Quinto 0, Espinas 0.
Quarters: 17-19; 37-42; 64-63; 85-85; 94-91.