Meralco opens Commissioner's Cup with victory over Mahindra

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY—Meralco fast tracked its road to redemption with a 94-86 victory over Mahindra at the start of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Friday night.

The Bolts clawed back from a slow start and held off an early explosion from the returning James White to get their first win right in their very first game of the conference.

Mahindra blitzed early in the first quarter, taking a 13-6 lead with less than seven minutes left in the first period.

But Meralco ended the quarter on a 16-5 run to take a 22-18 lead. The team would extend the lead to 14, 44-30, late in the second quarter.

The Floodbusters tried to mount a comeback, cutting the lead down to three in some points of the game, but they failed to complete the comeback.

Baser Amer led Meralco with 19 points, three rebounds, three assists, and three steals, while Chris Newsome added 17 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and one steal.

Alex Stepheson had a relatively quiet PBA debut scoring-wise as he only made 11 points, but he grabbed 21 rebounds, three blocks, and one steal.

White tallied 33 points, 16 rebounds, four blocks, and one steal in his comeback game for Mahindra.

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