Tolomia steals thunder
Rookie Mike Tolomia may have found the big break he had waited for since being acquired by the Meralco Bolts after firing a career-high 24 points in his team’s 106-78 victory over the Alaska Aces last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
While attention was on veteran Ranidel de Ocampo’s first game for the team – he was acquired from TNT KaTropa last week – Tolomia was one of the standout performers in the Bolts’ comprehensive win that pulled them within an earshot of securing a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
Tolomia, who was acquired from the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in exchange for fellow neophyte and Gilas Cadet member Ed Daquioag last Aug. 7, hit 17 in the first half, includ- ing a perfect 5-for-5 from three-point country to give Meralco a 58-35 lead at the break.
The former Far Eastern University star added seven more in the fourth when Meralco had already been assured of a share of the lead with idle Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at 7-2.
Bolts coach Norman Black is confident Tolomia’s breakout game could be a sign of things to come.
“He’s gonna get an opportunity with us,” Black said. “He really didn’t get much of an opportunity with the Rain or Shine team because they have a lot of guards there. But right now, he’s the backup to Baser (Amer), so at some point of the game he’s gonna come in and it just happened to be play really, really well and played more minutes than Baser.”
Tolomia had already made himself a key part of the Meralco rotation since the trade, averaging 5.3 points, 1.0 rebound and 1.0 assists in 12.3 minutes entering the faceoff with Alaska.
De Ocampo made a good account himself in his Meralco debut with 10 points in 16 minutes, but Black said that the former Gilas Pilipinas mainstay will play a key role in the games that mattered.
“I think he did a pretty good job blending in with the team,” Black said. “He didn’t get much playing time but we expect that Ranidel will be a big addition to the team, he’ll bring a lot of talent and experience that I think we’ll help us down the stretch.”
Import Allen Durham had another dominating performance with 26 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and three blocks, Amer had 17 points and Newsome produced 10 points and five rebounds for the Bolts.