Blackwater Elite made a winning start as it came away with a 94-91 squeaker over the Meralco Bolts in overtime in the 2019 PBA Commissioner’s Cup opener at the Mall of Asia Arena Sunday night.
Down by as much as 11 in the first half, the Elite flipped the switch in the third quarter and were even able to establish an 84-78 advantage heading into the final two minutes of the regulation before the Bolts came back and tied the match at 85-all.
In the extra period, a put back basket from Mac Belo and dagger free throws from Mike Digregorio gave Blackwater a 93-89 cushion which was enough to get the victory.
Digregorio led the scoring for the Elite with 21 points highlighted by five three-pointers. Import Alex Stephenson was a thorn on the side of his former team as produced 21 points as well alongside 31 rebounds, while rookie Ray Parks Jr. had his much anticipated PBA debut and didn’t disappoint as he collected 20 points, eight rebounds, three steals, two assists, and a block in 41 minutes.
Gani Lawal, meanwhile, ended up with 34 points on 44 percent shooting along with 21 rebounds and three steals for a solid debut as Meralco’s import, while Mike Tolomia was the only other Bolts player in double figures with his 11 markers that just went down the drain.
BLACKWATER 94 – Digregorio 21, Stepheson 21, Parks 20, Maliksi 12, Belo 6, Sena 4, Sumang 4, Dario 3, Al-Hussaini 2, Alolino 1, Javier 0, Tratter 0, Cortez 0.
MERALCO 91 – Lawal 34, Tolomia 11, Jackson 8, Pinto 7, Newsome 5, Salva 5, Hodge 4, Hugnatan 4, Amer 4, De Ocampo 4, Canaleta 3, Caram 2, Espinas 0, Quinto 0.
Quarter scores: 17-19, 37-42, 64-63, 85-85,94-91