Meralco thwarts Dyip, 101-92

GANI Lawal of Meralco shoots over John Pinto of Columbian during their Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup game Friday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (Roman Prospero)

Meralco thwarted every rally of Columbian Dyip to hack out a 101-92 win in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Bolts came up with timely baskets when they needed it most to bounce back from their opening-game loss and keep the Dyip winless after two games.

Gani Lawal posted a huge double-double game with 25 points and 27 rebounds but it was the locals who delivered offensively in the second half led by Baser Amer, Chris Newsome and Cliff Hodge.

Amer added 21 points on five-of-seven shooting from the three-point area while rookie Trevis Jackson added 17 markers.

“Our defense was good from the start and also our ball movement. Coach Norman (Black) just told us to ran the system,” said Amer, who also listed three rebounds, two assists and two steals in 29 minutes of play.

“I’m more aggressive today compared to the last game,” added Amer, who was held down to just four points in their 91-94 overtime loss to Blackwater.

Newsome had 12 points while Hodge chipped in 10 markers, including a crucial jumper that gave Meralco an 87-81 lead with a little over six minutes remaining.

Dyip’s Jackson Corpuz muffed two crucial free throws in the next play and Amer drilled a back-breaking triple at the corner to give the Bolts a 90-81 advantage with 5:26 remaining in the game.

Columbian Dyip threatened once more after Rashawn McCarthy scored on a drive, 88-94, with 2:28 left but Newsome and Hodge hit their strides to secure the first victory of Meralco in this mid-season tournament.

Import Kyle Baron paced the Dyip with 26 points and 16 rebounds while top pick CJ Perez added 22 markers. McCarty and Corpuz netted 13 and 11 points, respectively, for the squad of coach John Cardel.