Sweet-shooting import leads Meralco past Alaska
San Mig starts Commissioner's Cup campaign with win
MANILA, Philippines – Import Brian Butch found his range from the 3-point area while his Meralco teammates stymied defending champion Alaska to come up with an 85-76 victory in the PBA Commissioner's Cup on Wednesday.
The 6'11" Butch connected in 6 of 11 attempts from the 3-point area and hauled down 17 rebounds to help the Bolts get their first win in 2 games. He finished the game with 27 points.
But the Meralco import couldn't have done it without the help of the locals, who limited Alaska to just 26-for-74 from the field.
Reynel Hugnatan, who ended up with 14 points, did a good job guarding Alaska import Rob Dozier. The Bolts also got 12 points each from Gary David and Cliff Hodge.
Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio said he was glad that his players were able to adjust in the absence of two of their mainstays. Mike Cortez had to sit out the game due to an injured knee, while Jared Dillinger was down with fever.
“We did a good job competing today despite our obvious lack of players. We were able to do the job because of defense,” said Gregorio in the PBA website.
“This win is a very welcome development for us. We were able to find ways against a powerhouse team like Alaska. It was really defense that spelled the biggest difference for us,” he added.
In the other game, San Mig Coffee opened its Commissioner's Cup campaign with a 91-75 victory over GlobalPort.
After a relatively slow start, the Mixers posted a 47-32 halftime lead against the Batang Pier. San Mig’s lead went up by as much as 18 points, but through Evan Brock’s efforts, GlobalPort sliced the deficit to 72-80 in the fourth canto.
The Mixers were able to hold off the Batang Pier who fell to their third-straight defeat.