Meralco coasts to win as injury-plagued Blackwater left to play without import
Jared Dillinger gave Meralco the spark off the bench. Jaime Campos

MERALCO proved too much against a depleted Blackwater side as it waltzed to a 105-90 victory in the PBA Governors’ Cup on Wednesday night at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts maintained a sizeable lead and never let the Elite, who were without injured import Eric Dawson, come closer than nine points in the payoff period to coast to the victory to bounce back from a heartbreaking double-overtime loss to GlobalPort.

Without Dawson, who was sidelined due to back spasms, as well as top local big man Poy Erram, Allen Durham frolicked in the paint with 30 points, 16 boards, seven assists, and one block in 38 minutes, while Jared Dillinger provided the spark off the bench to lead the Bolts, who moved back above .500 with a 4-3 win-loss slate.

The Bolts also added to the misery of the hapless Elite, who absorbed a fourth straight loss to fall to the bottom of the pile at 1-5.

“I give a lot of credit to Blackwater for coming out and playing tough and giving us a really big challenge,” Bolts coach Norman Black said of the Elite, who were also missing starting point guard Mike Cortez due to a calf injury. “But a win is a win and we really needed a win to stay in touch with the leaders.”

Durham put in the work early with 12 points in the first period where the Bolts established an 11-point lead that set the tone for the one-sided win.

Dillinger added 16 points, including three on a left-corner three-pointer off Durham that gave the Bolts their biggest lead at 97-79 that took the fight out of the Elite with still over four minutes left in the game.

Art dela Cruz was one of the few bright spots for the Elite with 23 points, four boards, two assists, and two steals in 24 minutes off the bench, while Carlo Lastimosa added 16 points in 24 minutes.


The scores:

MERALCO 105 – Durham 30, Dillinger 16, Faundo 10, Hodge 10, Alapag 8, Nabong 8, Newsome 7, Hugnatan 6, Amer 4, Buenafe 3, Uyloan 3, Chua 0, Guevarra 0

BLACKWATER 90 – Dela Cruz 23, Lastimosa 16, Cervantes 10, Gamalinda 7, Melano 6, Pascual 6, Miranda 5, Sumang 4, Tiongson 4, Canada 3, Golla 2, Qahwash 2, Sena 2, Reyes 0

Quarterscores: 27-16, 52-37, 78-67, 105-90

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos