Eric Dawson drops 50 points to lead Meralco to a crucial win over ROSBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—Eric Dawson scored 50 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as Meralco outlasted Rain or Shine, 118-116, in overtime Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The Bolts, who wrapped up their elimination round campaign with a 7-7 record, avoided a twice-to-beat disadvantage in the quarterfinals.
“I think it’s an important win for us because it primes ourselves for an opportunity at a best-of-three and tonight’s game it was Eric Dawson who really towed us to victory with 50 points,” said Meralco head coach Ryan Gregorio, whose squad arranged a quarterfinals date with San Mig Coffee.
It was Dawson’s second game with 50 points or more after he unleashed 57 points against Petron Blaze a few weeks ago.
Mac Cardona added 19 points, including six of Meralco’s eight points in extra session. Cardona made back-to-back baskets to open up overtime as the Bolts took a 114-110 lead.
Paul Lee responded with a three before Gabe Norwood put the no.2 Elasto Painters, who set up a clash with Barangay Ginebra San Miguel in the quarters owning a twice-to-beat edge, ahead by one, 115-114, with 2:57 left.
Dawson reached the 50-point plateau after scoring off the inbound play over Beau Belga that gave the lead back to Meralco, 116-115, with only 1:35 remaining.
Belga had the last crack at the basket on a three but it hit the front iron. Bruno Sundov had 31 points, 19 rebounds, but was accounted for seven of Rain or Shine’s 22 turnovers.