ERIC Dawson came through with an electrifying 57-point performance to power the Meralco Bolts to a confidence-building 102-92 victory over Petron Blaze in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 6-9 Dawson, who went to the game averaging a league-best 26.8 points average league-best, torched the Boosters defense with a dazzling array of jump shots, driving layups, putbacks and dunks to lead the Bolts to their sixth win in 11 starts.
He went 20-of-34 shooting from the field and 17-of-22 from the foul line in the highest scoring output by an individual in the league since former Sta. Lucia import Derrick Brown scored 57 in a 99-120 loss to San Miguel Beer in the 2004 Fiesta Conference.
“It’s fantastic! I’ve never seen anything like that for a long time, especially with the advent of scouting reports,” said a beaming Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio after the game.
“But I thought Petron did its job defensively. Eric was just on fire. I really thought he brought us on his shoulders and carried us to victory in tonight’s game.”
The victory allowed Meralco to tie its victim and Barangay Ginebra in fourth place with three games left in its elimination-round schedule.
Petron's third straight loss spoiled the league debut of import Henry Sims, who scored 23 points and grabbed 16 rebounds but was a clearly step slower than Dawson, perhaps because of the effects of jetlag.
Sims and Petron will only have one day to recover and prepare as it faces Barako Bull, which will now be led by new import and former DJ Mbenga.
Meralco 102 - Dawson 57, Cardona 13, Hugnatan 13, Salvacion 8, Timberlake 4, Vanlandingham 3, Hodge 2, Reyes 2, Ross 0, Buenafe 0
Petron 92 - Sims 23, Lassiter 15, Santos 10, Cabagnot 9, Fajardo 8, Washington 8, Lutz 6, Miranda 6, Pena 5, Lanete 2
Quarterscores: 22-28, 46-47, 75-70, 102-92