10 February 2013

Bolts 99, Texters 92

A player with a winning tradition, Eric Dawson was full of promise in his debut as a Meralco import.

Dawson, a champion player in the NBA D-League and in the Japanese league, put in a monstrous performance in his initial game in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, powering Meralco to a 99-92 win over three-peat all-Filipino titlist Talk n Text at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Saturday night.

"It's all about going hard," said the former San Antonio Spur after getting the Bolts to a triumphant start in the tourney coming from a fifth-place finish in the Philippine Cup.

"We have a brand new franchise and it's nice to win against the champs. It's a great start for us," said Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio.

Gregorio made special mention of Dawson. He said: "When the game is on the line and we need to score baskets, he's there to deliver the good for us."

At least in his PBA debut, he was everywhere, going 14 of 24 from the field and nine of 15 from the stripe for the most productive performance by any import in the tourney thus far.

In 37 minutes of action, the 6-foot-8 Midwestern U product also collected 14 rebounds, four blocks, two assists and two steals against two turnovers.

He took over the game in the crunch as he fished Keith Benson's sixth and final foul with 3:08 left to play.

He scored 16 points in the final quarter, including all but two of Meralco's last 13 markers.

Ronjay Buenafe, Mark Cardona, Vic Manuel, Reynel Hugnatan and Chris Ross did their part as the Bolts surprisingly dominated the Texters, leading by as many as 18 points.

The Texters got into the game on a searing run in the third quarter but the Bolts hung on and went on to complete the stirring victory.

Buenafe and Cardona tossed in 19 and 16, respectively, Manuel and Hugnatan made eight apiece while Ross snared nine rebounds and issued eight assists.

Benson delivered 25 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out.

Jimmy Alapag and Jayson Castro made 18 and 17, respectively, for the Texters who played minus Kelly Williams who got stranded in the US.

"There’s a point in time that substraction is addition. It's hard to play two premier guards (Alapag and Castro), but our decision to stay with Chris Ross gave us tremendous boost, he being a great energy defender," said Gregorio.

"He scored only two points but got nine rebounds and eight assists and played good defense on the Talk n Text guards," Gregorio added. (SB)

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