CEBU CITY – The Meralco Bolts kicked off their southern sojourn with a 91-68 rout of reigning Cesafi champion University of the Visayas in the opening game of the Recoletos Invitational Cup on Wednesday night at the University of San Jose-Recoletos Coliseum.
Fresh off their morale-boosting runner-up finish in the PBA Governors’ Cup, the Bolts asserted themselves in the middle periods and led by as much as 36 points before cruising to the easy victory.
Meralco led by nine, 27-18, after the first but began to widen the gap with a 15-3 blast capped by a triple by draft pick Jonathan Grey to push their lead to 18, 39-21. Another 10-3 surge later in the third quarter gave the Bolts their largest lead of the game at 66-30.
Veteran big man Ken Bono led Meralco in scoring with 14 points while Justin Chua had 13. Grey impressed in his first game for Meralco with a dozen markers.
Up next for Meralco will be a bout against the Cebu Landmasters-University of San Jose-Recoletos Jaguars on Thursday before facing another PBA team in this mini-tournament, the NLEX Road Warriors, on Friday.
The team with the highest number of wins after the round-robin tournament will be declared the champion.
Cesafi MVP Rey Suerte was the lone player to reach double figures for UV with 16 points. Mythical Five forward Monic Soliva and Jayson Balabag each tallied eight.
Meralco (91) Bono 14, Chua 13, Grey 12, Yeo 8, Baser 6, Caram 6, Hugnatan 6, Faundo 6, Hodge 5, Newsome 5, Nabong 3
UV (68) Suerte 16, Segumpan 8, Soliva 8, Balabag 8, Sackor 6, Albina 5, Gahi 5, Codilla 4, Napao 4