Meralco import Allen Durham has made a strong case for the Best Import award when he led the Bolts to a 114-109 overtime victory over Barangay Ginebra San Miguel Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Durham, a native of Michigan, scored his team’s first seven points in overtime and was a pillar of strength underneath.
He converted 16-of-25 from the field, including 5-of-6 from three-point territory with 13 rebounds, seven assists, a steal and two shot blocks in more than 50 minutes of action.
“Allen is a driving force for us,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.
Ginebra import Justin Brownlee, the other contender for the award, conceded that he was outplayed in Game 1.
Brownlee struggled with 17 points on 7-of-18 shooting while adding eight rebounds, and he felt sorry as he vowed to be more aggressive.
“I give a lot of credit to Allen Durham, he played really well,” said Brownlee. “I would take the blame because Allen had a great game. I take a lot of blame for that. They really played well on defense forcing me to pass the ball.”
Brownlee vowed to be aggressive in Game 2.
“I think I should’ve been more aggressive. It’s gonna be very different. We’re gonna come out a lot harder, come out and defend especially on Allen Durham. For this series, you have to defend him better. That’s gonna be the biggest key for us, defensively,” Brownlee said.
Before the 6:30 match, the PBA will announce the Best Player of the Conference (BPC) winner and the Best Import.