|Baser Amer exploded in the second half enough to lift Meralco to an opening day win over Columbian Dyip. PBA Media Bureau.|
By Ricky Manliguis
ANTIPOLO—Meralco recovered from a shaky start as it posted a nervy 109-106 win over Columbian Dyip to open up the 2018 PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at the Ynares Center.
The Bolts used a strong second half surge and banked on Baser Amer and Allen Durham down the stretch to give the back-to-back conference runner-ups the victory.
Durham, the two-time Best Import awardee, issued another monster game, registering a ner-triple double of 26 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists. Amer finished with 23 with eight boards and six assists.
Mike Tolomia also waxed hot with 14 points spiked on four three-pointers.
Down by 10 at the half, 43-53, Durham pumped in 13 of Meralco’s 42 third-quarter assault to take an 85-76 advantage going into the fouth quarter.
But the Dyip rallied behind import Akeem Wright and Jerramy King to tie the count at 85 on the 9:12 mark. Amer took charge then, pouring 12 straight points punctuated by a lay-up for 108-106, 58 ticks left.
A defensive gem by KG Canaleta on Jackson Corpuz led to Durham splitting from the stripe with 1.4 seconds, before Roider Cabrera misfired a potential game-tying triple at the horn.
“Definitely a good start for us this conference. They (Columbian) played quite well as a team and their import is very good,” said Merlco coach Norman Black.
The loss foiled the head coaching debut of Johnedel Cardel, as Wright issued 30 points and 14 rebounds, while King had 24 and eight boards for the Dyip.
The Bolts will next face sister squad TNT Katropa on Sunday also at the Ynares Center.
Meralco 109 - Durham 26, Amer 23, Tolomia 14, Hodge 11, Caram 10, De Ocampo 10, Canaleta 9, Salva 4, Newsome 2, Lanete 0, Bono 0, Hugnatan 0.
Columbian 106 - Wright 30, King 24, Khobuntin 10, Corpuz 10, Camson 8, Escoto 8, McCarthy 5, Celda 5, Tubid 2, Cabrera 2, Cahilig 2, Lastimosa 0.
Quarterscores: 26-25, 43-53, 85-76, 109-106.