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PBA: Meralco off to hot start

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Import Allen Durham and Baser Amer picked up where they left off while Garvo Lanete may found the big break he had long waited since being acquired in a trade last conference as Meralco pummeled Blackwater, 107-78, last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Durham showed why he was the Best Import of last year’s season-ending tournament by posting 18 points and 21 rebounds, Amer had 20 points, eight assists and six rebounds after a sensational showing in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Meralco's Allen Durham goes for the basket against Blackwater's Kyle Pascual (32) and John Erram during the PBA Governor's Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum, July 21, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Meralco’s Allen Durham goes for the basket against Blackwater’s Kyle Pascual (32) and John Erram during the PBA Governor’s Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum, July 21, 2017 (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

And Lanete?

He exploded for 15 points to give the Bolts a stirring start to their title bid.

“It was exactly the type of start that we were hoping for going into the conference,” said Bolts coach Norman Black.

“We played pretty well in our last two exhibition games, we were hoping we could carry that against Blackwater.

“We came out very strong, defensively. We were able to pick up stops in the first quarter, and our offense started to click,” he added.

Lanete made his Meralco debut in style by making 5-of-8 shots from three-point territory, four of which came in the first two quarters that saw the Bolts frustrate the Elite with a 63-34 halftime lead before sustaining their dominance till the end.

It was a performance that may bode well for Lanete, who was acquired from NLEX in a four-team trade along with GlobalPort and TNT KaTropa last conference but failed to suit up because of an injury.

“Lanete, being a part of team now, gives us a lot of spacing, particularly around AD (Durham). He’s probably gonna be double-teamed majority of the time so having him as an addition to the team really helps,” Black said of Lanete.

Lanete scored Meralco’s first basket on a triple, setting the stage for the rout. Amer scored nine in the period while Durham was already dominating Blackwater on both ends.

Jared Dillinger, Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge played supporting roles. Dillinger scored 14 points while Newsome and Hodge added 13 and 11, respectively.

Meralco led by as much as 39 points, 93-54, in the fourth quarter, leaving Blackwater frustrated.

Import Trevis Simpson finished with 25 points and eight rebounds while Bambam Gamalinda was the only local player to score in double figures with 10 for the Elite.

First Game
MERALCO 107 – Amer 20, Durham 18, Lanete 15, Dillinger 14, Newsome 13, Hodge 11, Hugnatan 4, Nabong 4, Caram 2, Yeo 2, Sedurifa 2, Faundo 2, Chua 0, Atkins 0.

BLACKWATER 78 – Simpson 25, Gamalinda 10, Sena 7, Cruz 7, Digregorio 6, Sumang 5, Erram 4, Canaleta 3, Pascual 3, Aguilar 2, Miranda 2, Banal 2, Cervantes 2, Buenafe 0, Pinto 0.

Quarters: 32-15, 63-34, 88-52, 107-78.