(Ynares Sports Center)
3 p.m. — NorthPort vs Rain or Shine
6:15 p.m. — Magnolia vs Phoenix
Antipolo City — Suleiman Braimoh is proving to be what the doctor ordered for Meralco.
Playing in his second game for the Bolts, Braimoh banged in 40 points, grabbed 16 rebounds, and had three assists to power the Bolts to a 91-84 win over Blackwater Saturday in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup at the Ynares Center.
Braimoh’s performances have reminded head coach Luigi Trillo of the team’s last two imports: Allen Durham and Tony Bishop.
But this early, Trillo seems to be falling head over heels in love with the Nigerian-American reinforcement as he has shown traits that could propel Meralco all the way to the top.
“They’re special in their own ways, but I love Su. Su is a grind-out-type of an import. He’s positive for the guys,” Trillo said.
Before coming over to the PBA, the 6-foot-8 Braimoh played all over Europe, displaying his wares in Germany, Turkey and France as well as in Japan and Qatar and even in Mexico.
“We heard personal good things about Su no matter which part of the world he plays in. Su has all the special things that he does. The other two imports (before him), they’re great, but they have their own thing, there are so many special things that Su can do, being a great defender, he can pass the ball and he can shoot from mid-range. We’re so excited to have him.”
Braimoh was nearly a one-man show offensively for the Bolts as he was the only Meralco player who ended up in double figures.
While no local lit up the scoreboard like Braimoh did, Blackwater won the battle of the boards, 52-34, and the assists department, 20-10.
“The last two years, we were leading the league in rebounds and we want to continue that and we have the ability to do that with Su here,” Trillo added.
Meanwhile, action in the Commissioner’s Cup resumes Sunday as three of the four teams that won their first games in the tournament want to establish an early winning run.
Magnolia and Phoenix, which defeated their respective rivals previously, clash in the main game at 6:15 p.m.
NorthPort, which is coming off a 108-103 triumph over Terrafirma Friday night, tests Rain or Shine in the first game at 3 p.m.