MERALCO produced a solid performance on both ends of the floor to bring down Barangay Ginebra, 104-91, and take the headstart in their PBA Governors’ Cup title showdown at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Led by import Tony Bishop, the Bolts unleashed two long scoring splurges bridging the second and third quarters to turn a close contest into a rout in the opener of their best-of-seven title series.
Bishop finished with 20 points, 12 rebounds and four assist in his keenly-awaited match-up with perennial PBA Best Import winner Justin Brownlee as Meralco outscored Ginebra, 28-19, in the second quarter and 25-18 in the third period.
Four other players — Allein Maliksi, Cliff Hodge, Aaron Black and Raymond Almazan — also came through with double-digit scores as the Bolts dominated the Gin Kings in this import-flavored conference.
Maliksi finished with 22 points, including a respectable 3-of-4 shooting from the three-point area, to help the Bolts’ surprisingly easy win over the Gin Kings.
Hodge added 17 points, Black contributed 12 points and six rebounds and Almazan had 10.
Brownlee topscored for Ginebra with 27 points.
Christian Standhardinger added 20 points and PBA Best Player of the Conference frontrunner Scottie Thompson had 19.
But no other players managed to score in double figures for Ginebra.
“We really take pride in our effort on the defensive end. Pero sumabay ang opensa namin. Everybody came out to shoot the ball very well,” said Meralco coach Norman Black in an interview posted at the official PBA website.
“We’re happy for the win, but we’re not satisfied. We also know we can’t relax. For sure, they (Ginebra) will come out strong in the next game,” added Black, referring to Game 2, which will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday.
Meralco (104) — Maliksi 22, Bishop 20, Hodge 17, Black 12, Almazan 10, Newsome 8, Quinto 6, Belo 5, Banchero 2, Jose 2, Caram 0, Baclao 0, Canete 0, Pasaol 0, Jamito 0.
Ginebra (91) — Brownlee 27, Standhardinger 20, Thompson 19, Tolentino 6, Chan 5, Tenorio 5, Caperal 4, Ayaay 3, Pinto 2, Mariano 0, Onwubere 0, Devance 0, Enriquez 0.
Quarterscores: 25-23, 53-42, 78-60, 104-91
(Mall of Asia Arena)
6 p.m. — Meralco vs.Ginebra