MANILA, Philippines - The Meralco Bolts leaned on a balanced scoring effort from their guys and steady defense after the first quarter to take down the Blackwater Elite, 87-72, on Friday, May 29, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The win improves the record of Meralco to 3-3, while Blackwater suffered their fifth loss in 6 games.
Gary David, who entered the game averaging just 8.6 points per contest in the Governors’ Cup, finished with 16 points and 5 assists to lead Meralco, who also received a 17-point, 12-rebound game from import Andre Emmett.
Japanese import Seiya Ando was superb, contributing 12 points on 50% shooting. Wings Sean Anthony and Jared Dillinger played well too, combining for 22 points and 14 rebounds.
“We had much better balance today offensively and a lot of people getting involved offensively,” said Head Coach Norman Black after the game. [Dillinger] stepping up, Ando stepping up in the second half… it’s always better when you have better balance on offense.”
Meralco trailed Blackwater by 10 after the first quarter as the Elite was the team that showed more hustle and effort. The Bolts trimmed the deficit to 5, 39-34, by the half, and used a 29-point third quarter to take control of the game.
“It was a very good effort in the second half. I thought we came out a little lackadaisical in the first half. I think we allowed Blackwater to jump over us,” said Black.
Blackwater shot just 36% from the field and took only 9 free throw attempts, making 5. After scoring 22 points in the first period, they failed to score at least 20 in the succeeding quarters.
Said Black, “Naturally it was an all-Filipino crew that separated us both halves… a lot of credit goes to the all-Filipino players today who came out to play, particularly on the defensive end.”
Marcus Douthit led the Elite with 15 points and 8 rebounds, while Brian Heruela finished with 12 points, 7 boards, and 5 assists.
“Good job from Sean Anthony defensively going up against a much bigger player in Marcus Douthit,” said Black, whose team has been inconsistent so far this conference after finishing in the semis of the Commissioner’s Cup.
“Our defense has been lacking. Our rebounding has been absent and our ability to play as a team on offense has been non-existent,” Black talked about the reasons of their losses.
He later added: “We have to do a better job in our team defense, of rotating, not losing our men, closing out, challenging shots, and most importantly boxing out and rebounds.”
Meralco’s defense forced Blackwater into 17 turnovers that led to 10 points, while the Bolts had just 8 giveaways of their own. Meralco also won the battle in the paint, 46-22, and received more production from their bench, 42-32.
The Bolts will be back in action on June 2, Tuesday, when they take on the Talk ’N Text Tropang Texters.
“Playing against Talk ’N Text next, everybody knows how good they are, so it’s going to be a tough game for us,” Black said about the matchup.
Blackwater, on the other hand, has Rain or Shine next on their schedule on Wednesday, June 3.
MERALCO (87): Emmett 17, David 16, Dillinger 12, Ando 12, Anthony 10, Nabong 8, Hodge 6, Atkins 2, Ildefonso 2, Ferriols 2.
BLACKWATER (72): Douthit 15, Heruela 12, Gamalinda 8, Laure 8, Erram 7, Acuna 6, Cervantes 5, Bulawan 4, Reyes 3, Salvacion 3, Golla 1, Timberlake 0.
Quarter Scoring: 12-22, 34-39, 63-56, 87-72