Meralco started like a house on fire before weathering Rain or Shine’s repeated rallies to register a 109-102 win and snap a two-game losing skid in the PBA Governors Cup on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Import Allen Durham and Fil-Am rookie Chris Newsome sparked the Bolts’ fiery 16-0 start as the Bolts shot a scorching 83 percent from the field in the opening quarter.
The Elasto Painters managed to close in at six points, but the Bolts unleashed their full offensive might in the 2nd half to finally book their 3rd win in 5 starts.
The hulking Durham proved to be a handful for Rain or Shine after pacing Meralco with 32 points, to go along with 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals.
“First, I think it was the first quarter where we got off to a good start to set the tone of the game,” said Meralco coach Norman Black, whose team lost back-to-back games heading to the PBA All Star break.
“We really talked about that (strong start) in practice, and of course, it also helped us a great deal that Allen Durham played a lot better today,” he added.
The 6-foot-4 Durham again played through a broken nose, but was aggressive nonetheless in attacking the basket , getting most his shots within the shaded lane.
Black said Durham never asked for a break even after suffering from a broken nose during Meralco’s 98-93 loss to sister team TNT last month. And neither did he consider replacing Durham, who wore a black, protective mask to cover his nose.
“We never thought about replacing him (Durham) because the doctor didn’t say we have to. The doctor said he can continue to play,” said Black.
Rain or Shine, which dropped at the middle of the standings at 2-2, was led by import Dior Lowhorn with 25 points and 8 rebounds while Jericho Cruz, who had his first All Star appearance this season, added 15 and 5 assists. – John Bryan Ulanday
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