Meralco 91 – NLEX 84
The Meralco Bolts earned their second straight win on Sunday, getting the 91-84 victory over the NLEX Road Warriors.
Jared Dillinger top-scored for the Bolts with 20 points, including four treys, four rebounds, and three dimes. Import Alex Stephenson had a better outing in his second game, as he finished with 18 points and 24 boards.
The Bolts are now 2-0, after winning versus the Mahindra Floodbuster just two days ago.
While Stephenson is getting more accustomed to Meralco’s style of play, the locals had a big hand in their second win. They went with an All-Filipino lineup in the early part of the fourth period, and that was when they were able to gain ground against the Road Warriors.
Aside from Dillinger, three other local Meralco players reached double-digit scoring. Baser Amer had 12 points and Chris Newsome tallied 15 markers. Reynel Hugnatan was a spark off the bench with 13 points. With Stephenson manning the paint, Amer, Newsome, and Dillinger had more room to operate. Their reinforcement also serves as a safety net when they jack up shots. Stephenson’s game-high 24 rebounds proved to be a key stat as Meralco barely won the battle of the boards, 53-51.
NLEX on the other hands, suffered their second loss in the Commissioner’s Cup. Wayne Chism had a double-double performance of 18 points and 17 rebounds, but he only shot 8-for-24 from the field. As a team, the Road Warriors only hit 38 percent from the field, with Garvo Lanete being the sole local reaching double-figures with 14.
The Bolts are obviously at their best when they combine the strong presence of their import with the versatility and athleticism of their perimeter players. They’re not necessarily a drive-and-kick team, but they need the penetration from guys like Newsome and Amer to open up scoring opportunities.
Meralco will face its biggest challenge yet when they take on their sister team, KaTropa TNT this Friday.