MANILA, Philippines — Sol Mercado scored 20 points in his first game for his new team and Chico Lanete added 19 to lead the Barako Bull Energy Cola to a 92-70 win over the Blackwater Elite in the 2015 PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday, January 28 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Mercado and Lanete led a backbreaking 15-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters to pull away from a close 60-58 edge and erect a 75-58 lead over the Elite, which played without its 7-foot import Christien Charles who was sidelined due to a hamstring injury.
Mercado, who was traded from San Miguel to Globalport and to Barako at the tailend of the Philippine Cup, went 7-of-11 from the field and added 3 assists for his new team.
Lanete went 7-of-9 from the stripe as well.
“I thought we started well on the defensive end,” said Barako head coach Koy Banal. “Our goal was to give our opponents 22 points per quarter. And in the first half we limited them to 17 and 18.”
Barako Bull import Solomon Alabi had a strong debut with a double-double of 21 points and 22 rebounds.
“I can’t ask for more. He delivered what I was expecting from him. He was there. He was the rim protector,” Banal said of the 26-year old Nigerian center who played for the Toronto Raptors.
“I’m hoping this won’t get to his head and he will work some more. But I like his attitude. He’s a very positive influence on the team even when nothing is going our way.”
JC Intal added 13 points and 5 rebounds as Barako took a while to shake off a determined Blackwater team hungry for their first PBA win.
The defining statistic was the Energy’s 33 free throw attempts compared to just 9 from the Elite.
Bryan Faundo was the only player in double figures for Blakwater with 16 points to go with 8 rebounds.
Raphy Reyes, who was activated in lieu of Paul Artadi, and Brian Heruela added 9 points apiece. – Rappler.com
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