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PBA: Chris Newsome’s return ‘big relief’ for Norman Black, Meralco

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Chris Newsome. PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines—Meralco finally got back its star guard Chris Newsome, whose return from injury boosted the Bolts’ opening win over Rain or Shine in the PBA Governors’ Cup.

The 32-year-old Newsome was sidelined for over two months due to a left calf injury.

“Just having him back is such a big relief for me as a coach ‘cause now I know I have my best player back on the court,” the Black said after the Bolts’ 105-87 win at PhilSports Arena.

“He’s our most productive player in terms of scoring, assisting and rebounding. We needed him tonight to play extra minutes which I didn’t really want to do but I didn’t have a choice because Aaron (Black) was out tonight and CB (Chris Banchero) was cramping,” he added.

Guard Aaron Black suffered a knee contusion during practice but is expected to be available next game.

Newsome made his presence felt for the Bolts with 10 points, five rebounds, six assists and a steal in 38 minutes.

“I’m well aware that I can contribute to this team and I’m a big part of this team. Last conference, all I could offer was my voice ’cause physically I couldn’t be out there so it’s tough,” Newsome said.

“I’m not the type that’s worried about my stats so I wasn’t worried about trying to come out and score 20, I was just worried about getting the win,” he added.

Without Newsome last conference, Meralco was far from a contending team. The Bolts missed the playoffs after finishing just 10th with a 4-8 record.

“If Newsome was healthy, I don’t think we would have been eliminated in the last conference. It’s hard to lose your best player and expect us to perform at the same level,” Black said.

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