MANILA, Philippines – Justin Brownlee made his keenly-awaited PBA return for Barangay Ginebra but Meralco made sure it will have the last laugh.
Arinze Onuaku posted another monster double-double to electrify the Bolts to a 93-82 triumph over the Gin Kings in the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday, June 1.
The American import scattered 24 points, 23 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks as Meralco redeemed itself from a heartbreaking loss the last game to improve to 4 wins in 6 outings.
Chris Newsome backstopped Onuaku with 22 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists while Jared Dillinger and Anjo Caram made their presence felt with 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the win.
It was a nip-and-tuck battle in the first half with the Bolts holding a slim 6-point lead before they took over in the 3rd quarter off an 8-0 run, sparked and capped by triples from Ranidel de Ocampo and Onuaku, for a 73-56 cushion.
The Gin Kings pulled out all stops to mount a comeback in the final frame but only trimmed their deficit to as low as 10 points.
Brownlee, who replaced Charles Garcia, delivered 20 points, 16 rebounds and 12 assists but his triple-double went for naught as Ginebra absorbed its 4th loss in 5 outings.
“Good effort for us. Big win for us especially [since] it leaves us a little bit more from the top and keeps us away from the bottom,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black.
Japeth Aguilar and Scottie Thompson were the only other Ginebra player in double figures with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
Meralco (93): Onuaku 24, Newsome 22, Dillinger 13, Caram 12, De Ocampo 5, Hodge 4, Canaleta 0, Hugnatan 0
Ginebra (89): Brownlee 20, Aguilar 13, Thompson 12, Slaughter 8, Mercado 7, Tenorio 6, Devance 6, Caguioa 5, Caperal 5, Cruz 0
Quarter scores: 28-22, 48-42, 73-58, 93-89
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