Tolo­mia steals thun­der

Tempo - - Sports - By JONAS TERRADO

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.

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