Meralco prevails in Governors' Cup Finals rematch with Ginebra
MANILA, Philippines – Allen Durham dropped 30 points and the Meralco Bolts won for the first time this season against old finals rivals Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, 93-78, to open their 2017 PBA Governors' Cup campaign on Sunday, July 23 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Durham, last year's Best Import in this conference, flirted with a triple-double, collecting 24 rebounds and dishing off 9 assists to pick up right where he left off from a year ago, when he and the Bolts fell short in the finals.
Jared Dillinger added 17 points while Chris Newsome had 16 markers and 13 boards as Meralco prevailed in a rematch of last year's Governors' Cup Finals, and beat Ginebra for the first time since Game 3 of that series.
Cliff Hodge fueled the Bolts defensively as they exploited the Gin Kings' early chemistry issues spawned from the return of 7-foot big man Greg Slaughter after 10 months of recovery from a knee injury.
"I’m very happy with our effort to night especially on the defensive end. We played good defense the entire game," said head coach Norman Black. "A lot of people were involved with that. Cliff Hodge did a great job defensively today."
Meralco made Ginebra extremely uncomfortable offensively and at the same time played at a much faster pace on the other end, resulting in an 18-1 edge in fastbreak points.
The Bolts, who are now 2-0, blew the game open in the third period, when the Gin Kings stiffened up in their rotations and ball movement and couldn't buy a basket. Meralco led by as many as 19 points, 72-53, late in that period.
Ginebra inched only to within 10 points in the fourth before Dillinger squashed the momentum with a timely triple.
LA Tenorio paced the defending champions with 16 points but sat out the entire fourth quarter.
Slaughter had 14 points and 14 rebounds playing 30 minutes, while comebacking import Justin Brownlee, the hero of last year's championship run, settled for 13 markers on 5-of-15 shooting.
Meralco (93): Durham 30, Dillinger 17, Newsome 16, Hodge 10, Amer 8, Hugnatan 5, Nabong 4, Lanete 3, Caram 0, Chua 0, Atkins 0, Faundo 0, Sedurifa 0.
Ginebra (78): Tenorio 16, Slaughter 14, Brownlee 13, Thompson 9, Mercado 8, Aguilar 6, Ellis 6, Marcelo 4, Taha 2, Mariano 0, Devance 0, Caguioa 0.
Quarter scores: 21-32, 43-45, 72-57, 93-78.