AN undersized and undermanned Meralco squad cut Barangay Ginebra down to size by pulling off a gigantic 100-87 upset win in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Tuesday at the Mall of of Asia Arena.
The Bolts, who went to the game with injured forwards Kerby Raymundo (knee) and Cliff Hodge (ankle), also lost veteran forward Reynel Hugnatan two minutes into the first quarter when he sprained his left ankle after stepping on the foot of Barangay Ginebra rookie center Greg Slaughter.
But the Bolts were unfazed by the huge challenge.
Jared Dillinger churned out 25 points and 10 rebounds, including numerous shots from the perimeter that forced Ginebra forward Japeth Aguilar to get out of the paint to defend.
“We’re fortunate that we got them (Gin Kings) on an off night. They were not scoring the way they scored the past three games and I thought it was due to the highly emotional game they played against Globalport. Probably, that sapped a lot of energy from them,” said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, whose team improved to 2-2.
The Bolts victory easily smashed the cloak of invincibility of the Gin Kings following their three straight wins to open the PBA’s 39th season.
Meralco’s defense held the usually efficient Ginebra offense to just 38.7 percent shooting for the game.
Japeth Aguilar was the lone bright spot for a lethargic Ginebra squad with 23 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks, while his frontcourt partner, rookie center Greg Slaughter, was held to just seven points and six boards - way below his conference averages of 15.0 points and 12.3 rebounds.
Mark Caguioa and LA Tenorio chipped in 14 apiece, but both couldn't get the Gin Kings goingin the second half run after trailing by as many as 25 points late in the third period.
Mike Cortez added 21 points, while newly acquired center Rabeh Al-Hussaini, the only legitimate big man left for Meralco, finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks.
John Wilson and Gary David each scored 14 points for the Bolts.
Meralco 100 - Dillinger 25, Cortez 21, David 14, Al-Hussaini 14, Wilson 14, Sena 7, Guevarra 3, Salvacion 2, Caram 0, Hugnatan 0.
Ginebra 87 - Aguilar 23, Tenorio 14, Caguioa 14, Reyes 8, Slaughter 7, Baracael 5, Ellis 5, Ababou 3, Urbiztondo 3, Forrester 3, Monfort 2, Helterbrand 0, Mamaril 0.
Quarters: 27-25, 46-35, 78-58, 100-87