Cliff Hodge and Jared Dillinger joined forces down the stretch to power Meralco to an 88-82 victory over Talk ‘N Text in the Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup on Saturday at the Philsports Arena in Pasig City.
Hodge tallied 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Dillinger finished with 14 points and hauled down 11 boards as the Bolts rolled to a 2-0 start.
Meralco import Arinze Onuaku also had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Bryan Faundo finished with 11 points, while Jimmy Alapag and Baser Amer contributed 10 points apiece also for the Bolts.
The Tropang Texters dropped to 1-1 win-loss record.
Talk ‘N Text import Ivan Johnson, meanwhile, has been banned in the league for uttering expletive words and addressing profanities to PBA Commissioner Chito Narvasa during the second quarter of the game.
The temperamental Johnson will also pay a P250,000 fine.
“For addressing the Commissioner with profanities and showing utter disrespect for authority, Tropang TNT import Ivan Johnson has been banned from the PBA and fined P250, 000,” according to the statement released by the Office of the Commissioner.
The 6-foot-9 import immediately left the venue.
Johnson was ejected in the game after being called with a second technical foul with 4:21 left in the second period after he elbowed Faundo in the face during positioning.
Besides the technical foul, he was also slapped with flagrant foul penalty one.
He already earned his first technical foul due to second motion with 9:23 in the second quarter after hitting Kelly Nabong.
Johnson finished with nine points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of play.
On Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum, the Mahindra Enforcers aim for a back-to-back win when they meet the Blackwater Elite at 3 p.m.
After their impressive win over the Globalport Batang Pier (111-98) last Friday, the Enforcers will try to duplicate the same performance against the Elite.
Nino “KG” Canaleta scored 20 points in the first half including four threes plus six rebounds, while teammate LA Revilla racked up 17 points to give the Enforcers their first win.
But guard Carlo Lastimosa of Blackwater will be an absolute threat to Mahindra’s back-to-back bid.
Lastimosa scored a career-high 39 points on Wednesday although it was not enough to beat Talk ‘N Text.
On the other hand, the Batang Pier will face the Ginebra Gin Kings in the second game at 5 p.m.