Undefeated Meralco extended its winning run to five by out lasting a hard-fighting GlobalPort squad 96-88 on Sunday in the elimination round of Philippine Basketball Association Season 41 Commissioner’s Cup at the Araneta Coliseum.
Swingman Jared Dillinger dazzled with 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting in the field plus five rebounds and two assists, while freshman Chris Newsome sizzled with 15 points to guide the Bolts to a 5-0 win-loss record and stay on top of the team standings.
“It’s a good feeling to keep the train going,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black during the post game interview. “Moving up 5-0 is going to help us down the line if we are going to stumble. We are very solid in the first to halves.”
“Our rebounding held up. My bench players are growing up very quickly. Anjo (Caram) brings a lot to the team because he’s a very good defensive player. Our bench has been doing a good job so far,” he added.
Despite his low production in scoring, former National Basketball Association player 6’8 Arinze Onuaku remained effective for Meralco producing 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting in the field along with 14 rebounds, five assists and four blocks in 45 minutes of action.
Cliff Hodge grabbed 15 rebounds and scored six points, while veteran Reynel Hugnatan added 12 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting in the field plus six rebounds and rookie Baser Amer finished with nine points also for Meralco.
Meralco out-rebounded Global¬Port (57-34) and shot better overall in the field (46-42%).
After a hot start that earned them a 25-17 first quarter lead, the Bolts struggled offensively in the second period allowing the Batang Pier to come closer at halftime 38-40. GlobalPort sustained its offensive and defensive prowess to knot the third quarter tied at 65-all.
But Meralco outscored Global¬Port 31-23 in the fourth canto highlighted by strong plays in the endgame to take away the lead for good and deal the Batang Pier to back-to-back losses.
GlobalPort’s win-loss record dropped to 2-3.
The Batang Pier played without last year’s rookie of the year Stanley Pringle, who is nursing with an ankle sprain. He is on a day-to-day basis.
Pringle sprained his right ankle last Friday in a loss against San Miguel Beer.
Import Calvin Warner took charge in scoring for GlobalPort, finishing with a game-high 29 points on 12-of-23 shooting in the field along with 19 rebounds and two blocks, while Terrence Romeo added 18 points but miserably shot 4-of-14 on the floor.
In the second game, Barangay Ginebra outplayed Star Hotshots, 92-87, to cruise to its second win in four games.
The Hotshots suffered their fourth loss against one win.