Games Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:15 p.m. – Barako Bull vs Blackwater
7 p.m. – Talk ‘N Text vs Rain or Shine
Manila, Philippines – It’s just possible nobody on the Meralco Bolts is regretting right now not having landed Michael Dunigan.
The Bolts came out roaring in the first quarter against sluggish Barangay Ginebra San Miguel last night, forcing the Kings to 11 turnovers in the first half alone on the way to an 85-74 victory at the start of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Meralco, which defeated Ginebra in their lone elimination round meeting in the previous Philippine Cup, settled for 6-foot-7 Josh Davis after Ginebra beat it in acquiring Dunigan, who had a monster conference last season with the Air21 Express.
Davis rewarded Meralco’s faith in him.
The San Diego State stalwart and NBA D-Leaguer debuted with 25 points and 24 rebounds, providing the bursting energy that carried the Bolts to a rousing start.
Asked whether he felt it was poetic justice that they beat the team of the import that shunned them, Bolts coach Norman Black said he didn’t see it that way.
“Actually, we went to the States to look for an import for the third conference because we had already given Mike (Dunigan) a contract,” said Black. “But it was his decision and we went to Josh Davis. Fortunately he delivered.”
And delivered big time.
Davis had 9 points in the 3rd quarter after Ginebra cut a 13-point first half deficit to 3. The Bolts’ second choice then wrapped it up with another 9-point binge in the 4th to put the game away.
Dunigan wasn’t so bad with 17 and 14 rebounds, but ranged against Davis, the University of Oregon star paled in comparison.
David added 21 points for the Bolts while Greg Slaughter, fed a huge amount of touches inside paint, led the Kings with 23 points, spoiling the return of Ato Agustin as Ginebra coach.
Dunigan had 10 points in the first half but committed 3 turnovers as Davis picked up 7 points with 13 rebounds in the first 24 minutes.
Shooting 2 of 5 from 3-point range, David had 12 points for the Bolts, who led by as many as 34-21 at one point, while Mike Cortez added 10 points.
Meanwhile, CJ Leslie had 11 of his 33 points in the first quarter as Globalport broke away early in posting a 100-89 win over Kia Carnival and 7-foot-4 center PJ Ramos.
A 24-point spread (49-25) by the Batang Pier was cut down to 7 points halfway in the fourth quarter where Ramos, who grabbed 20 rebounds and dished off 6 assists, had 15 of his game-high 41 points.
It was, however, the closest Kia got, spoiling the debut of former Mapua Cardinal Chito Victolero as a takeover assistant coach in the absence of boxing icon Manny Pacquiao, who is still in the States where he was one of the judges in the Miss Universe Pageant.
Leslie outscored Ramos, 11-9, in the first 12 minutes as the Batang Pier opened a 32-22 lead. Globalport hit 71 percent of its shots during the period (12 of 17), while Kia went 7 of 24 (29 percent).
“Honeymoon stage pa kami ng import namin,” said Globalport coach Eric Gonzales. “Sa locals wala kaming problema. Matalino naman si CJ. We told him to adjust to the calls; mukhang magagawa naman niya.”
Meanwhile, Talk ‘N Text battles Rain or Shine at 7 tonight following the 4:15 p.m. game between Barako Bull and Blackwater at the Cuneta Astrodome.
TNT brought back Richard Howell from last season’s Commissioner’s Cup finals where the Tropang Texters fell to eventual Grand Slam champion San Mig Super Coffee (Purefoods), while ROS will parade second option import Rick Jackson of Syracuse University.
The TNT-ROS game marks the first time the Texters will be without 12-year veteran Jimmy Alapag who retired after the Philippine Cup and will instead serve as team manager.
In a separate development, PBA commissioner Chito Salud slapped Purefoods backup center Yousef Taha with a P60,000 fine and a two-game suspension for punching Jackson, the ROS import, in a tuneup game last Friday. (With reports from Waylon Galvez)
GLOBALPORT 100 – Leslie 33, Romeo 19, Pringlle 17, Miranda 8, Semerad 6, Ponferada 5, Isip 4, Nabong 4, Pinto 2, Baclao 2, Buenafe 0, Taha 0, Caperal 0, Jensen 0, De Ocampo 0.
KIA 89 – Ramos 41, Yee 15, Cervantes 8, Ighalo 8, Revilla 7, Buensuceso 6, Sanga 2, Alvarez 2, Thiele 0, Poligrates 0, Padilla 0, Pascual 0, Dehesa 0, Burtscher 0, Custodio 0.
Quarters: 32-22, 56-42, 79-67, 100-89
MERALCO 85 – Davis 25, David 21, Cortez 12, Hodge 6, Wilson 6, Ferriols 4, Hugnatan 4, Atkins 3, Anthony 2, Sena 2, Reyes 0, Ildefonso 0, Reyes 0, Buenafe 0, Macapagal 0.
GINEBRA 74 – Slaughter 23, Dunigan 17, Baracael 11, Urbiztondo 6, Caguioa 6, Tenorio 3, Monfort 3, Helterbrand 3, Ellis 2, Mamaril 0, Yeo 0, Reyes 0, Aguilar 0, Ababou 0, Brondial 0.
Quarters: 18-23, 43-34, 64-50, 85-74