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Meralco zaps Kia for 4-0 start

By Dugout Philippines

QUEZON CITY--Except for Cliff Hodge and Reynel Hugnatan limping to their bench after twisting ankles, it was an otherwise complete trouble-free ride for the Meralco Bolts.

The Bolts dominated the Kia Picanto with consummate ease and pulled off an emphatic 112-97 triumph to preserve a clean slate after four games in the PBA Governors Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday night.

Coach Norman Black and his troops kept their unbeaten run, adding to the woes of the Kia Picanto whom they dealt a fifth straight setback.

Meralco and Star (3-0) have clean cards while Alaska (0-4) and Kia (0-5) are winless heading to the tourney’s weeklong breather to give way to Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup in Beirut, Lebanon.

“Our team played a very good game both on offense and defense. We really wanted to focus on the game so as not to stumble, and stay on top,” said Meralco coach Norman Black.

“We relaxed a bit after getting a big lead, but we played really well for the most part,” added Black on their breeze after earlier convincing triumphs over Blackwater, Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine.

Black said there’s no doubt Allen Durham was a big key versus Kia with his first triple-double performance in a Meralco uniform.

The reigning Best Import produced 25 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, with Chris Newsome, Baser Amer and Garvo Lanete contributing at least 14 points as the Bolts easily overpowered the hapless Kia side.

“Our import really led the way. He led the charge in being unselfish in moving the ball around. It’s a good job for Allen to dish out 13 assists. He made the big difference tonight,” said Black.

Hodge and Hugnatan played limited minutes as they got hurt.

“The good thing is there’s no swelling on Hodge’s foot even if he twisted it so badly. He could be okay in a few days,” said Black.

With early huge productions from Durham and Newsome, the Bolts seized control right at the get-go and held a 16-point spread, 57-41, at the half.

The Meralco import collected 13 points, six assists and five rebounds while Newsome had 11 markers, five dish-offs and three boards in the first 24 minutes of play.

The Picanto were in the game only in the first few moments where they engaged the Bolts in three dead locks and two lead changes.

The Bolts took control with a 26-15 at the end of the opening quarter.

Box Scores:

Meralco 112-Durham 25, Newsome 19, Amer 17, Lanete 14, Caram 8, Dillinger 8, Nabong 7, Hugnatan 6, Chua 4, Faundo 4, Hodge 0, Daquioag 0, Sedurifa 0

Kia 97-Cummings 20, Celda 17, Khobuntin 13, Yee 11, Nimes 8, Corpuz 8, Revilla 6, Deutchman 5, Paniamogan 4, Camson 3, Ballesteros 2, Elorde 0, Teng 0, Salva 0

Quarterscores: 26-15, 57-41, 82-66, 112-97

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