Meralco, Converge off to rousing Governors’ Cup debuts

Meralco Bolts and the Converge FiberXers got off to rousing starts in the 47th PBA Governors’ Cup after they blew out separate opponents on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the PhilSports Arena.

The Bolts pulled away in the second half to blast the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 105-87, while the FiberXers posted their own lopsided victory via a 122-92 burying of the NorthPort Batang Pier.

KJ McDaniels proved too much for Rain or Shine as he piled up 27 points and a PBA personal high 23 rebounds.

It was a close contest early on with the first quarter ending with Rain or Shine posting a 24-22 lead.

Meralco led by as many as seven points in the second stanza but veteran gunner James Yap put on a show that helped the Elasto Painters get back into the game.

Seeing action for the first time after over a year, Yap showcased his vintage form when when he exploded for 12 points in the second period.

Yap’s scintillating second quarter show was capped by a buzzer-beating triple that tied the contest at 54-all at the half.

The second half, however, was all-Meralco show as the Bolts ripped the game apart in the third behind a 27-12 attack, resulting to an 81-68 lead going into the final quarter.

McDaniels starred in Meralco’s second half breakaway where he unloaded 17 of his total output.

Chris Newsome marked his return from a four-month layoff with a 10-point, five-rebound, six-assist performance.

Rey Nambatac paced Rain or Shine with 21 points.

Totally outplayed by his counterpart, Rain or Shine import Michael Qualls scored just 14 points. 

Yap, who signed a one-conference deal with Rain or Shine, wound up with 14 markers.

Converge, on the other hand, leaned on a balanced attack in dumping a depleted NorthPort squad.

The FiberXers had seven players scoring in twin digits with Maverick Ahanmisi firing a team-high 29 points.

Kiwi reinforcement Ethan Rusbatch tallied 17, Jeron Teng pitched in 16, Abu Tratter donated 13, new acquisition Jerrick Balanza added 13, David Murrell had 12, while Taylor Browne chipped in 11.

Up by just a hairline after the first period, the FiberXers ripped the game apart in the second canto, exploding for 40 points while holding their opponent to just 21 to post a commanding 66-36 lead at the bend.

The lead ballooned to as many as 37 in final half as Converge handily chalked up their first win of the season-ending conference.  

Import Marcus Weathers finished with a game-game 37 points to lead NorthPort, which played without Robert Bolick, Arwind Santos and Will Navarro.

Image courtesy of PBA Media Bureau

Follow the writer on Twitter: @burnsports

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