Import powers Bolts’ 3-0 start | Inquirer Sports

Import powers Bolts’ 3-0 start

By: - Reporter / @MusongINQ
/ 01:19 AM March 25, 2017

Meralco import Alex Stepheson. PBA IMAGES

Meralco import Alex Stepheson. PBA IMAGES

Facing a really solid team for the first time in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Meralco showed the stuff it is made of.

With the locals playing with a lot of confidence, the Bolts took control in the third period and went on to spoil the debut of powerhouse TNT KaTropa with a 94-89 victory to stay unscathed in the young tournament and give the rest of the field a glimpse of what they can do.

Alex Stepheson, aside from scoring 20 points and grabbing 27 rebounds, has given his support cast the boost in confidence they need as the Bolts continued with their fluid play to rise to 3-0 and again reclaim the solo lead.

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Jared Dillinger and Baser Amer fired 17 points each and the locals looked very loose and had no fear in taking shots from the perimeter, a luxury they never had in the Philippine Cup, where they won only three games.

That has changed since Stepheson arrived.

“It’s a different feeling right now, because we have a man in the middle who is quite strong and can dominate,” Meralco coach Norman Black said in praise of his import. “A lot of local players are stepping up because of that.”

And the scary part about it is that Black continues to say that Stepheson is still not in shape.

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After victories over Mahindra and NLEX, the Bolts still didn’t look that good. Friday night’s victory over the Texters at Smart Araneta Coliseum has definitely changed that view for the rest of the conference.

Lou Amundson, who is set to play just two games at most for the Texters with Donte Green already in town, scored 19 points and had 18 rebounds for TNT, which missed the services of Jason Castro.

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Meanwhile, Mahindra—which owns one of the weakest rosters on paper—broke into the win column by playing to its identity.

Showing more desire and playing a lot smarter under pressure, the Floodbuster snapped a six-game losing streak dating back to the last conference after scoring an

89-81 decision of NLEX in the first game.

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James White fired 30 points that went with 23 boards to power Mahindra.

TAGS: Alex Stepheson, Baser Amer, Jared Dillinger, Meralco, PBA Commissioner's Cup, TNT KaTropa

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