THE young guns of Meralco took charge in the endgame to turn back NLEX, 106-93, as the Bolts notched their first win in the PBA Philippine Cup on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Chris Newsome and Ed Daquioag scored 10 points each in the payoff period as they led a pivotal run that allowed the Bolts to break loose from what until then was a tight ballgame during the Petron Saturday special curtain raiser.
Newsome, last season's Rookie of the Year, finished with a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds, while Daquioag, the freshman guard from University of Santo Tomas and part of the Gilas cadet training pool, also had a career-best 23 points in only his second game as a pro.
The Bolts evened their record at 1-1 to tie the Road Warriors.
“It’s a huge win for us because the last time we played in the all-Filipino, it took us a long time to get one win so I’m happy to get that first win,” said coach Norman Black, obviously referring to the team’s woeful campaign in this same conference last season where the Bolts ended up with the worst record of 1-10.
The Bolts didn’t get their first win last year until their sixth game against the Star Hotshots.
Newsome and Daquioag made everything possible.
A three-pointer by Daquioag sparked Meralco’s breakaway, before a Newsome basket gave the Bolts a commanding 100-87 lead entering the homestretch.
In all, the Bolts went on a 21-5 run in the final quarter to turn around an 82-79 deficit.
“Hats off to my rookie Ed Daquioag, he played exceptional tonight,” said Black of the 25-year-old shooting guard from Dingras, Ilocos Norte. “He played very relax, actually played like a veteran.”
NLEX was led by Sean Anthony with 15 points and eight rebounds, which back-up big men Eric Camson and Raul Soyud along with sophomore shooting guard Garvo Lanete each had 14.
MERALCO (106) - Newsome 28, Daquioag 23, Hodge 12, Caram 11, Nabong 11, Yeo 7, Grey 6, chua 4, Al-Hussaini 2, Faundo 2, Amer 0, Bono 0, Hugnatan 0, Uyloan 0.
NLEX (93) - Anthony 15, Camson 14, Lanete 14, Soyud 14, Alas 10, Lastimosa 10, Villanueva J. 7, Baracael 5, Guinto 4, Khobuntin 0, Monfort 0, Taulava 0.
Quarterscores: 21-25; 56-54; 79-77; 106-93.