MANILA, Philippines – Ray Parks made his keenly awaited PBA debut and helped Blackwater hack out a 94-91 overtime win over Meralco in the 2019 Commissioner's Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, May 19.
Fans were treated to an extra period in the first game of the conference as the Elite forged overtime before surviving the Bolts in the final stretch behind the second overall pick Parks and import Alex Stepheson.
Parks – who finished with 20 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals – split his free throws with less than 9 seconds remaining to give Blackwater a three-point lead as Gani Lawal missed the game-tying triple for Meralco at the buzzer.
Stepheson flexed his muscles against his former team with 21 points and 31 rebounds and Mike Digregorio made his presence felt in the win with 21 points off 5 triples.
Allein Maliksi had 12 points and 5 rebounds for the Elite, while Mac Belo added 6 points – including a clutch bucket that gave his side a 91-89 lead – to go with 8 rebounds.
Meralco had a chance to finish it off in regulation with the game tied at 85-all, only to witness Trevis Jackson fail to complete a highlight-worthy play as he missed an open layup after putting Digregorio on skates.
Lawal, a former NBA player, put up monster numbers of 34 points, 21 rebounds, and 3 steals, but he lacked help from his teammates.
Mike Tolomia was the only other Bolts player in double figures with 11 points, while Trevis Jackson chipped in 8 points.
Blackwater 94 - Stepheson 21, DiGregorio 21, Parks 20, Maliksi 12, Belo 6, Sumang 4, Sena 4, Dario 3, Al Hussaini 2, Alolino 1, Tratter 0, Cortez 0, Javier 0.
Meralco 91 - Lawal 34, Tolomia 11, Jackson 8, Pinto 7, Newsome 5, Salva 5, Hodge 4, Amer 4, De Ocampo 4, Hugnatan 4, Canaleta 3, Caram 2, Espinas 0, Quinto 0.
Quarters: 17-19, 37-42, 64-63, 85-85, 94-91.
Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.