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Charlo sizzles in debut as ROS busts SMB


By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Mo Charlo introduced himself to the PBA with an impressive debut in Rain Or Shine's 108-105 win against San Miguel in the Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

Charlo, who replaced Antoine Wright as the Elasto Painters' import, did not hesitate in putting up brilliant numbers as he tallied 35 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, and one block and delivered them out of a slow start to score a huge win against the Beermen.

San Miguel raced to a 32-14 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Rain Or Shine bounced back, taking advantage of Tyler Wilkerson's foul trouble and another knee injury by Junemar Fajardo to tie the game, 44-all, late in the second.

Both teams stayed close to each other for most of the second half, but Charlo led a crucial 9-0 run to give the Elasto Painters the lead for good.

Charlo scored back-to-back baskets before stealing the ball from Wilkerson and finding Maverick Ahanmisi for a layup for a 103-100 advantage with 1:13 left in the game.

Gabe Norwood capped the run with a field goal to up the lead to five with 16.5 seconds remaining.

The Beermen did not give up as Marcio Lassiter fired a quick triple only to let Charlo score a slam to keep a two-possession lead for the Elasto Painters.

San Miguel had a huge opportunity to inch closer anew as Jeff Chan fouled Alex Cabagnot while taking a triple with 2.5 seconds left. Cabagnot, however, only made two of three charities to cut the lead to two, 107-105.

Charlo still gave the Beermen a chance to force overtime as he only made one of two free throws with 2.2 seconds to go, but Wilkerson misfired a desperation long tom at the final buzzer.

Wilkerson finished with 33 points, ten rebounds, four assists, one block, and two steals while keeping check of his fouls in the second half, but he committed seven turnovers.

On the other hand, while he did not re-hurt the left knee that was claimed to have a partial ACL tear, Fajardo's right knee injury after colliding with Wilkerson turned out to be somewhat painful that Fajardo, who has already been given some time off from Gilas training to hasten his recovery, did not return to the game, making him questionable for San Miguel's next game.

Box Scores:

Rain Or Shine 108-Charlo 35, Quinahan 15, Ahanmisi 13, Tiu 13, Chan 12, Cruz 6, Ponferada 5, Belga 4, Lee 3, Norwood 2, Almazan 0, Ibanes 0, Trollano 0

San Miguel 105-Wilkerson 33, Lassiter 18, Cabagnot 18, Ross 12, Santos 10, Espinas 4, Fajardo 4, Lutz 4, Semerad 2, Arana 0, De Ocampo 0

Quarterscores: 32-14, 46-44, 76-76, 108-105

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno