19 February 2011

Bolts 98, Ginebra 115

Meralco's First Game
Nate Brumfield may not be as flashy as other imports could turn out, but he sure can get the job done for Barangay Ginebra.

Drawing inspiration from their workhorse of an import, the Kings gave the Meralco Bolts a 115-98 beating Friday (18 February 2011) at the start of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the jampacked Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena.

Brumfield finished with a near triple-double while Mark Caguioa, Willie Miller and Ronald Tubid also turned in double-figure efforts as Ginebra managed to notch a riproaring start in themed-season tourney that only has nine elimination games.

"It' good na nakauna, this being a very short (elimination) round," noted winning coach Jong Uichico after the Phoenix Fuel-sponsored game watched by a crowd led by no less than Governor Imee Marcos and City Mayor Michael Farinas.

"Mabuti rin na ang locals got adjusted relatively quickly to Nate's style of play," Uichico added. "Of course, we have yet to see the other imports and he may not be as explosive or as flashy as the others, but he makes the team better."

Brumfield attested to that with a gamehigh 32 points anchored on 10-of-18 field shooting, 11 rebounds and eight assists. Caguioa ably backstopped with 20 points while Miller and Tubid combined for 31. Rudy Hatfield only had six points but grabbed a gamehigh 16 rebounds before fouling out in the final 2:49.

Tony Dandridge paced Meralco with 30 points and also hauled down nine rebounds, while Asi Taulava notched his first double-double for the conference with 23 and 10. But the likes of Mark Cardona and Sol Mercado struggled bigtime from the field.

Cardona was limited to just six points on 3-of-14 field shooting while Mercado had 19 points off the bench, but he shot just 7-of-20 in his first game out of a Rain or Shine uniform.

The likes of Marlou Aquino and Reynel Hugnatan did not see action for Meralco, which was already without the injured Nelbert Omolon.

Even had they shown up, it is doubtful they could have made that much of a difference since the entire Ginebra team was simply too much to handle on this particular night, resulting in a difference of as much as 72-48 in the third period.

So in control were the Kings they hardly missed the services of the injured Jayjay Helterbrand, aside from Billy Mamari and Yancy de Ocampo, who Uichico did not utilize.

Ginebra also started out each quarter strong, sealing the trend in the fourth with a 12-2 run that gave them a 99-76 bulge after barely getting out of the third with an 87-74 advantage.

Brumfield already had 21 points after the first two quarters, helping Ginebra take an imposing 59-42 halftime lead.

The former Oklahoma Baptist star missed only two of seven shots from the field, went a perfect 11-of-11 from the stripe and got able support from the 13 points by Caguioa and nine from Miller. Rudy Hatfield also chipped in seven rebounds.

Cardona's scraping for form saw him not buying a basket until the last 57 seconds of the half while Dandridge scratched for only six points.

All those combined to prop Ginebra to charge into 17-point leads of 52-35 and 53-36.

Brumfield sparked Ginebra’s breakaway from a 34-30 count with nine straight points while Miller and Caguioa each spiked the 19-6 tear with a triple.

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