Blackwater opens new era with OT win over Meralco at start of Comm's Cup

Alex Stepheson had a fine showing against his former team. PBA Media Group
By Ivan Saldajeno

PASAY--Blackwater began a new age in its franchise history with a 94-91 win over Meralco in the first game of the PBA Commissioner's Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday night.

The Elite came alive in the middle of the third quarter, going on a 17-2 run to overturn an 11-point deficit and take a 56-52 lead.

The Bolts recovered and even took a 70-64 lead in the fourth quarter.

Blackwater, however, came alive later in the period and reclaimed the lead, 84-80, with 2:30 to play in regulation.

Meralco finished the final frame with a 5-1 run to eventually force overtime at 85-all.

The game remained tight for most of the extension until a Mac Belo follow-up spark a four-point mini rally by the Elite to take a 93-89 lead with 17.7 seconds to play.

The Bolts stayed in the game as Gani Lawal scored on his own putback even as Ray-Ray Parks could only make 1-for-2 from the foul line in the next play as the Elite held a three-point lead with 9.7 seconds left.

But Lawal missed a tough triple that could have forced another overtime as time expired.

Alex Stepheson and Mike Digregorio each tallied 21 points for Blackwater, which won for the first time under new coach Aris Dimaunahan.

Parks added 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists, three steals, and one block in his much awaited PBA debut.

Lawal put up 34 points, 21 boards, and three steals for Meralco.

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