IMPORT Josh Davis energized Meralco with his game-long hustle as the Bolts dealt Barangay Ginebra a 85-74 beating on opening day in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite standing a shade below 6-7, the left-handed Davis played big for his size as he came away with 25 points and 24 rebounds to spoil Ato Agustin's return to the Ginebra bench.
Ginebra's transition from the triangle offense to the run-and-gun offense also stalled as the team was held to a single field goal in a nine-minute span in the third quarter, allowing Meralco to pull away, 62-43.
Interestingly, a Ginebra team that was supposed to be running at every opportunity under Agustin scored just three fastbreak points the entire game.
“It’s a great start for us, being able to beat Ginebra in the first game, but our guys did a great job in the paint,” Meralco coach Norman Black said.
Black made special mention of John Ferriols, the 40-year-old former MBA MVP who held Ginebra's heralded import, Michael Dunigan, to just 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
The closest the Gin Kings got after that was eight points, 68-76.
Aside from being outscored in the transition, Ginebra, one of the tallest teams in the league, was outrebounded by an undersized Meralco side, 55-48, and consequently gave up 21 second-chance points.
Gilas mainstay Gary David banged in 21 points while fit-again playmaker Mike Cortez chipped in 12 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Bolts.
Greg Slaughter led Ginebra with 23 points and 16 rebounds while Mac Baracael added 11.
Meralco 85 - Davis 25, David 21, Cortez 12, Hodge 6, Wilson 6, Ferriols 4, Hugnatan 4, Atkins 3, Anthony 2, Sena 2, Reyes 0, Ildefonso 0, Reyes 0, Buenafe 0, Macapagal 0.
Ginebra 74 - Slaughter 23, Dunigan 17, Baracael 11, Urbiztondo 6, Caguioa 6, Tenorio 3, Monfort 3, Helterbrand 3, Ellis 2, Mamaril 0, Yeo 0, Reyes 0, Aguilar 0, Ababou 0, Brondial 0.
Quarterscores: 18-23, 43-34, 64-50, 85-74