30 January 2015

Dunigan Forced Meralco's Hands on Davis

Michael Dunigan
When Meralco Bolts coach Norman Black and team manager Paolo Trillo went to the United States their main objective was to look for their team import in the 2015 Governor’s Cup, the third conference for the season.

Both were not really worried about their reinforcement in the Commissioner’s Cup, the second conference, because they already thought that Michael Dunigan was willing to play with them.

Black never really imagined themselves to be in such a quandary a week before the conference began, saying, "Originally, when I went to the States, I went to get an import for our third conference, not the second conference because we already gave Mike (Dunigan) a contract."

Even the Grand Slam coach was surprised when the news of Dunigan signing with Ginebra broke out, forcing their hands to scamper for a replacement import. However, he respects the decision.

"That's his choice," Black said. "I can't control what he does or his agent does. It's his decision and it's his life so we have to move on."

"We scrambled and we were able to get a good import in Josh Davis and he delivered for us today (27 January). It's all water under the bridge right now," he added.

Davis admitted that he knew the situation of the team with Dunigan, but he said that it didn’t really bother him much going up against the crowd favorites.

"I just want to do the best for my team, that’s my only focus," he said.

Black was also happy to get this first win for the 2015 Commissioner’s Cup, noting, "It’s a great start for us being able to beat Ginebra in the first game. I thought my big guys did a great job today defensively in the paint. John Ferriols, who is 40 years old, played like he was much younger today. Cliff Hodge was all over the court for us. Josh Davis controlled the boards for us, which is what we brought him here for. He did a good job rebounding today."

The backcourt also had their share in the victory, as he said, "I thought Mike Cortez ran the team well, but the guy who really stood out a lot, especially offensively, was Gary David. He came in and made big shots for us in the first and second quarter, came right back in the second half and hit clutch shots for us."

For his part, David said that his stellar shooting, which led to his 21-point outing, was just a by-product of his continuous workouts to better blend in Black’s system.

"Nag-payoff din yung ginagawa ko every practice. Nakapag-adjust na rin ako sa sistema ni coach kaya every game, dapat nagiimprove lang kami," he said, echoing what their coach has been reiterating ever since he took the helm in Meralco.

"We just looked like we’re in better shape this time around," Black added. "And of course, once we blend in with our import, we’ll continue to get better."

Ginebra hoped that it would get better for Dunigan as well who normed 23.9 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 2.4 blocks in 15 games for Air21 in the 2013 Commissioner’s Cup.

Unfortunately, foul trouble in the second half limited the reinforcement’s production to just 17 points and 14 rebounds. Also not helping the Gin Kings is Meralco’s edge in rebounding, as they got outworked in the boards, 55-48, which translated to 21 second chance points for the Bolts.

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