PBA: Mac Belo stars as Meralco thumps NorthPort

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Mac Belo drives past NorthPort defenders. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco dominated NorthPort, 85-63, in its first game of  the PBA Philippine Cup Friday at Ynares Sports Arena.

The Bolts also spoiled the return of guard Robert Bolick who missed the 2020 Philippine Cup due to an ACL injury he suffered in 2019.

While the Bolts didn’t have the best night shooting the ball, going 7-of-28 from deep, they did clamp down on the Batang Pier’s offense.

NorthPort’s 17-of-81 shooting, or 21percent, is the second lowest mark in PBA history behind Coca-Cola’s 16-of-80 mark, 20%, in its 78-60 loss to San Miguel in Game 3 of the 2008 Fiesta Cup quarterfinals.

Part of Batang Pier’s shooting woes fell on Bolick’s cold hands with the combo guard going a disastrous 4-of-19 from the field and a bone-dry 0-of-7 from deep for 11 points.

“Defense has always been our calling card and we were one of the better defensive teams in the league,” said Meralco head coach Norman Black. “But we really wanted to up the tempo in the game and we wanted to score more points.”

“We did have the pace that we wanted but at the same time we didn’t shoot the ball well so you just have to do a better job shooting in the next game.”

Mac Belo starred in his first game for Meralco, going 27 points on 11-of-18 shooting with nine rebounds.

Sidney Onwubere had 13 points and six rebounds to lead the Batang Pier.

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