MERALCO barged into the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinals with an emphatic 102-75 clobbering of Blackwater Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Arinze Onuaku was unstoppable in his 28 minutes of action, bullying his way to 17 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal.
With their eyes set on moving on to the next round, the Bolts didn’t waste time burying the opposition as they jumped on a 10-2 start and continued to bamboozle the Elite, shooting 60-percent from the field to take a 59-30 halftime lead.
The lead even swelled to as many as 41 points, 93-52, with an undergoal stab from Mac Baracael with seven minutes left to play in the fourth quarter as Meralco hardly broke a sweat in grabbing its sixth win in eight games.
Cliff Hodge added 12 points, four boards, and three assists, as Jared Dillinger got 11 and two to set up the easy victory, paving the way for the seldom-used Bolts to see more than the usual time on the court.
Anjo Caram punched 13 points, three rebounds, three assists, and a steal, while Nino Canaleta got 10 points and four boards in the rout.
“I thought my guys played with a sense of urgency tonight. It was a must-win situation for us, especially with the three games coming up in the schedule. We really wanted to come out and establish our defense,” said coach Norman Black.
Meralco’s defense was at its finest, holding Blackwater to a 35-percent shooting clip, swiping the ball 10 times against its foe’s three, and rejecting four of the opposition’s shots.
Henry Walker led the Elite in scoring with 14 points, together with 13 rebounds, and six assists, while Allein Maliksi had 12 and five.
The Elite continued their futile run this conference to drop to 1-9.
MERALCO 102 — Onuaku 17, Caram 13, Hodge 12, Dillinger 11, Canaleta 10, Amer 9, Hugnatan 6, Tolomia 6, Newsome 4, De Ocampo 3, Sedurifa 3, Baracael 2, Salva 2, Bono 0, Lanete 0.
BLACKWATER 75 — Walker 14, Maliksi 12, Zamar 11, Sumang 10, DiGregorio 8, Al-Hussaini 7, Erram 4, Banal 2, Jose 2, Pinto 2, Sena 2, Palma 1, Cortez 0, Cruz 0, Javier 0.
Quarters: 24-15, 59-30, 79-47, 102-75.