by Waylon Galvez
Games Tomorrow (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:30 p.m. –Meralco vs GlobalPort
7 p.m. – Alaska vs Rain or Shine
Meralco import Arinze Onuaku was hospitalized for three days due to food-related problems but that hardly showed last night as he powered the Bolts to a 116-103 win over the Columbian Dyip in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Onuaku, back in the PBA after his initial stint with the same franchise two years back, tallied 30 points and 19 rebounds with six assists, three steals and four blocks in more than 43 minutes of action.
And he did that without the benefit of a practice.
His professionalism earned him raves from Meralco mentor Norman Black.
“Hats off to Arinze… he’s been sick, he’s been in the hospital the last three days,” Black said of his prized reinforcement, who missed just one of his 15 attempts from the field.
“Coming in and supporting the locals, I was happy with his performance. He’s presence inside (the shaded area) was something we lacked in the all-Filipino conference. He gave us that tonight,” added Black.
Meralco also got solid contributions from the locals, particularly from veteran forward KG Canaleta, who came off the bench to contribute 12 points – all in the second half as he finished with a 4-of-8 from three-point area.
Chris Newsome, a former Rookie of the Year awardee, and Jared Dillinger also delivered big off the bench as they added 18 and 11 points, respectively, while guard Nico Salva had 13 points.
“It’s a great effort, great start for us. Coming from the all-Filipino (eliminated) it’s a good start. Hopefully we can sustain the energy and effort,” said Black, whose team will next face GlobalPort tomorrow also at the Big Dome.
Defensively, the Bolts also did well as it shut down Columbian’s sophomore guard Jerramy King, who was held to only 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting after he exploded for a career-best 30 points in a 126-98 win against Blackwater at the start of the mid-season conference last Sunday.
Columbian import Charles Aiken led the team in scoring with 21 points with 18 boards, while Carlo Lastimosa and Rashawn McCarthy contributed 16 points, and Eric Camson and Reden Celda had 15 and 14 points, respectively.
MERALCO 116 – Onuaku 30, Newsome 18, Salva 13, Canaleta 12, Dillinger 11, Hodge 8, Amer 7, Hugnatan 7, Caram 4, Sedurifa 4, Tolomia 2, Ballesteros 0.
COLUMBIAN DYIP 103 – Aiken 21, Lastimosa 16, McCarthy 16, Camson 15, Celda 14, King 12, Tubid 4, Khobuntin 2, Cahilig 2, Corpuz 1, Ababou 0, Escoto 0, Sara 0.
Quarters: 25-31, 56-57, 85-79, 116-103.
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