22 July 2017

Bolts 107, Elites 78

Baser Amer
The Meralco Bolts has already been known as a defensive-oriented team. It now boasts of a fluid offensive game, too.

Playing well on both ends for majority of the game, the Bolts had little trouble fashioning a 107-78 win over hapless Blackwater last 21 July kicking off their campaign in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Baser Amer scattered 20 points and eight assists while Allen Durham notched 18 points, 21 rebounds and four assists in limited action in a game Meralco dominated from start to finish.

Garvo Lanete added 15 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting and Jared Dillinger went 4-of-8 from beyond the arc as well for 14 markers as they spearheaded the Bolts' outside game that gave Durham more space to operate inside.

"Lanete being part of our team now gives us a lot of spacing, particularly around AD (Durham)," said Meralco coach Norman Black of the former NLEX wingman acquired through a series of trades last May.

"He (Durham) is probably going to be double-teamed majority of the time once he touches the ball so having him (Lanete) here helps our spacing, our outside shooting," added Black.

In all, Meralco made 11 of 27 three-point tries while Blackwater went 0-of-13.

Although Meralco's total output far exceeds its 92-point average for 11th overall in the Commissioner's Cup it is not just offense alone that paved the way for the victory that was practically assured once the Bolts erected as much as a 37-point third quarter spread.

"We came out very strong, defensively," noted Black, "We picked up a lot of stops in the first quarter and our offense started to click, especially with Lanete hitting those long bombs."

So solid indeed was Meralco's hard-nosed defense that Blackwater failed to find any sort of rhythm in the early goings and trailed by as many as 22 points in the opening quarter.

By the time the Elite did it was too little, too late.

Trevis Simpson wound up with a gamehigh 25 points and hauled down eight boards, but failed to get the much-needed ample local support as only reliever Bambam Gamalinda was the only other BLackwater player to score in double figures with 10.

The likes of Mike Digregorio, Reil Cervantes and KG Canaleta, barely recovered from a bone spurs removal procedure following the Commissioner's Cup, gave very little contributions.

Mark Cruz and JP Erram, himself playing his first game following knee surgery last August, did chip in and helped Simpson during a surge that brought the Elite back from 54-95 to 71-95.

But there were only 3:45 left and Amer and Durham easily quelled the threat with timely points.

Blackwater's Raymund Aguilar actually made the game's first jumper but triples by Lanete and Amer sparked Meralco's 13-2 run.

By controlling the boards, scoring in transition and generally outplaying their Elite counterparts it didn't take long for the Bolts to erect as much as a 30-8 lead.

Blackwater trimmed the gap to 17, but it would be mostly downhill from there.

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