24 July 2017

Bolts 90, Ginebra 78

Meralco vs Ginebra
The never-say-die spirit of the Meralco Bolts was in full display last 23 July when when it whipped defending champion Barangay Ginebra, 90-78, in the first meeting between the two teams that tangled in last year's PBA Governors Cup finals.

The Bolts went on a huge third quarter tear to turn around a tight ballgame that saw the return from injury of Ginebra big man Greg Slaughter.

Behind Jared Dillinger, Chris Newsom, and Cliff Hodge, the Bolts ran the Kings to the ground by outscoring the reigning champions, 10-0, to break a 46-all count for a 56-46 upperhand.

The Bolts stretched the lead to its biggest, 72-53, just before the quarter ended, forcing Ginebra coach Tim Cone to finally sit on the bench and ponder what hit his team.

Reigning Best Import Allen Durham scored 10 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter as he helped quell a comeback by the league’s most popular ballclub to the disappointment of pro-Ginebra crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Durham came an assist short of a triple double as he finished with 24 rebounds and nine assists.

"I’m very happy with our effort tonight especially on the defensive end. I thought we played good defense the entire game," acknowledged coach Norman Black afterwards.

"Overall, it's just a great start for us," added the multi-titled mentor, whose team improved to 2-0 for a share of the early lead with Phoenix.

Dillinger added 17 including 10 during that third quarter breakaway. Chris Newsome had 16 while Hodge contributed 10 despite walking away with a busted lip courtesy of a Slaughter elbow late in the final period.

The 7-foot Slaughter heralded his comeback from an ACL injury by finishing with 14 points and 14 rebounds in his first game since he hurt his knee against Mahindra (now KIA Picanto) last September in the Commissioner's Cup.

But the big man out of Ateneo struggled from the floor with his 6 of 14 shooting.

"Obviously Greg is just getting back from an injury and they're just getting him back in tune to their game," said Black of Slaughter with whom he won a pair of UAAP championships while still calling the shots for Ateneo.

LA Tenorio led the Kings with 16 points as import Justine Brownlee was held to just 5 of 15 shooting for 13 points overall.

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