Eric Dawson scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bolts to an impressive 99-92 victory over the Talk ‘N Text Tropang Texters in the Commissioner’s Cup Saturday night at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Eric Dawson added 14 rebounds and four blocks for the Bolts, who squandered an 18-point first half lead before recovering in time to turn back the Tropang Texters.
“We played Talk N Text at the right time. They didn’t have extensive practice together and they have two new guys on their roster,” said Ryan Gregorio.
“We, on the other hand, were practicing a long time. Eric has been practicing for us for the past three weeks.”
Ronjay Buenafe and Mac Cardona added 19 and 16 points, respectively, for the Bolts. Chris Ross, starting at the point guard spot in place of the traded Sol Mercado, scored just two points but had nine rebounds and eight assists for Meralco.
“This is definitely a brand new franchise. It’s nice to win this game against the champs,” added Gregorio.
“I like the unpredictability of our game right now. We can go to the post and we can go off screen.”
Despite the team effort, it was Eric Dawson who sealed the deal for the Bolts, scoring 11 of his team’s final 13 points. He drew the sixth and final foul of Talk ‘N Text import Keith Benson with more than three minutes remaining, taking the fight out of the Tropang Texters.
Benson led Talk ‘N Text with 25 points, while Jimmy Alapag added 18, 14 of which came in the second half. Jayson Castro had 15 of his 17 points in the second quarter, but played sparingly in the second half because of an apparent injury.
Meralco 99 – Dawson 37, Buenafe 19, Cardona 16, Manuel 8, HugnaTAN 8, Hodge 4, Borboran 3, Guevarra 2, Timberlake 0, Reyes 0, Artadi 0.
Talk ‘N Text 92 – Benson 25, Alapag 18, Castro17, De Ocampo 9, Fonacier 7, Reyes 6, Dillinger 4, Raymundo 2, Al-Hussaini 2, Carey 2, Aban 0, Ferriols 0.
Quarters: 27-14; 48-41; 68-62; 99-92