MERALCO sustained its surprising, sizzling start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, dispatching shorthanded GlobalPort, 96-88, on Sunday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Bolts came up with a consistent showing as they broke loose from a tight contest down the stretch to remain unbeaten in five outings and keep a firm grip on top spot.
Jared Dillinger delivered off the bench as he conspired with Chris Newsome in the endgame for Meralco, which matched its best start in franchise history.
“It’s a good feeling to get the train rolling,” Bolts coach Norman Black said. “We executed well defensively.”
The defense was most evident on Batang Pier star Terrence Romeo, who was held to just 18 points on 4-of-14 shooting in 41 minutes.
The Batang Pier, though, missed a closer outside Romeo as backcourt partner Stanley Pringle was out with an injury.
As a result, Globalport dropped below .500 with a 2-3 win-loss record.
Dillinger and Newsome scored eight points apiece in the final frame as they finished with 17 and 15 points, respectively, for the Bolts, who also drew significant production from import Arinze Onuaku, Reynel Hugnatan, Baser Amer, and Anjo Caram.
Calvin Warner carried Globalport with 29 points and 19 boards.
The Batang Pier still led, 80-78, before the Bolts banked on a 10-1, capped by a Newsome jumper with a little over two minutes left that proved enough cushion to prevail.
MERALCO 96 – Dillinger 17, Newsome 15, Onuaku 13, Hugnatan 12, Amer 9, Caram 8, Hodge 6, David 5, Nabong 4, Alapag 4, Bono 2, Faundo 2
GLOBALPORT 88 – Warner 29, Romeo 18, Semerad 11, Taha 11, Uyloan 7, Mamaril 6, Washington 4, Kramer 2, Jensen 0, Sumang 0
Quarterscores: 25-17, 40-38, 65-65, 96-88