By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Barangay Ginebra San Miguel bounced back against the Meralco Bolts, 99-91, held at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
After a disappointing loss against the Rain or Shine Elastopainters, the Tim Cone-led wards finally got on the same page against the Bolts led by resident import Justin Brownlee.
Brownlee rediscovered his shooting touch and torched the entire Meralco team with his game-high 34 points including five rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
This is one of the worst starts Meralco had in the past three years after going winless in their first two outings of the import-laced conference.
The Bolts did their all to stay within the course but the absence of superstar point guard Chris Newsome hurt them who served as the team’s ultimate closer during his emergence as Meralco’s clutch player.
Six-foot-eight import Johnny O’ Bryant improved from his last game and stuffed the stat sheets for the Bolts with 31 points, 16 rebounds, and four dimes.
Meanwhile, veteran small forward Allein Maliksi had a big game for the Bolts but his 20 points built from four drained three-pointers weren’t enough to slow down the surging Ginebra offense.
The Gin Kings started to impose their will in the last six minutes of the final quarter after Brownlee took over with his smooth offensive game.
During Ginebra’s last four possessions to ice the game, coach Cone went to his superstar import and he delivered, scoring on three straight drives to the basket including an acrobatic leftie layup that protected their eight-point lead.
Stanley Pringle backstopped Brownlee with 16 big points while reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Scottie Thompson had a near triple-double of 15 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists.
Ginebra will have the chance to extend their winning streak to two as they take on the league leaders Bay Area Dragons on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Meralco will gun for its first win of the conference this Friday, October 7, against the winless Terrafirma Dyip.