Ray Parks makes PBA debut, Blackwater beats Meralco in OT
MANILA, Philippines—Ray Parks finally made his long-awaited PBA debut and Blackwater outlasted Meralco, 94-91, in overtime at the start of the 2019 Commissioner’s Cup Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Stocky import Alex Stepheson thew his weight around and finished with 21 points and 31 rebounds for the Elite while Parks, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, had 20 points and eight rebounds but also committed eight turnovers.
“I’m just happy that the players stuck together even though Meralco got the lead,” said Aris Dimaunahan, who also made his debut as the Elite’s interim head coach.
“They executed our offense. I’m proud of them for making stops in the endgame and they didn’t fold. I believe in these guys. They’re built for this,” added Dimaunahan, whose squad came back from 11 points down in the third quarter.
Gani Lawal did the heavy lifting for the Bolts with a game-high 34 points and 21 rebounds but he missed a potential game-tying triple as time ran out.
Blackwater also drew 21 points from Mike DiGregorio, whose free throws gave his team a 93-89 cushion with 17.7 ticks to go.
Lawal knotted the count at 85 with 45.8 seconds remaining in regulation. Trevis Jackson had the chance to win it for Meralco but he misfired on a short jumper as the clock expired, paving the way for extra time.