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His Air21 teammates insisted just a Michael Dunigan copycat, not the real Michael Dunigan, showed up with the team Sunday night.
Even then, Dunigan the copycat was good enough to get the Air21 Express to a triumphant start in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The 6-foot-9 Chicago, Illinois native dominated the posts and the paint, leading the Express to a 74-70 win over the Barangay Ginebra Kings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“You’ve yet to see Michael Dunigan the complete package. He didn’t really dominate offensively tonight but he’s a defensive monster,” said Mike Cortez of their import who powered his way to game-highs of 26 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks.
“Dunigan was a big factor. He gave us tremendous presence underneath,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.
Dunigan asserted himself as Air21 held Ginebra to 21 points in the first half. And after the Kings came to life in the second half, the Express stuck together and pulled through in the crunch.
Former Ginebra players John Wilson and Cortez provided the needed help as the Express had their share in the thrillers that marked the opening week of the mid-season tourney.
“It’s always a nice feeling beating Ginebra because of their star-studded lineup,” said Pumaren.
“Man-to-man, I think we’re the weakest right now. We won this game on the defensive aspect,” Pumaren also said.
The Kings fared badly at the start with import Herbert Hill missing all his first 10 field-goal attempts. They ended up tying the franchise-lowest output in a half. The Kings had their first 21-point output in a half in a 54-67 loss to the Sta. Lucia Realtors during the 2000 Philippine Cup.
Hill and his teammates picked up their game in the third quarter, rallying from a 13-point deficit and going on to battle the Express to the finish.
A jump hook by Dunigan off Hill and a charity by Cortez, however, settled the outcome of the game, 73-67.
“Against Ginebra, it’s always a battle,” said Cortez who outplayed LA Tenorio, winding up with 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Tenorio finished with just three markers on 0-of-11 field shooting. (SB)
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pero aminin nyo KG, JWil and Cool Cat... sa puso nyo nandon pa din ang Ginebra hahaha...
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ang ganda ng gising nila idol mc47 at jj13 ............. at ang sama ng gising nila tenorio at coach chualay ...........
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