By: Tito S. Talao
Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
5:45 p.m. – Air21 vs Meralco
8 p.m. – Petron vs. San Mig Coffee
Manila, Philippines – Barako Bull’s aging veterans are looking more and more like franchise-saving first round draft picks.
Burying 7-of-10 three-point shots in a dizzying fourth quarter, the Energy Cola rallied from 15 points down to stun the Alaska Aces, 97-93, last night and move into a share of leadership in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 2-0 start is their second in the last three conferences, and their 17 three-pointers a franchise record in a regular game. They hit 19 3s three months ago in overtime against Talk ‘N Text.
Ronjay Buenafe led Barako Bull with 27 points, burying 7-of-11 triples, while Mark Isip added 12.
“Me magandang lane lang and I took it,” said Buenafe, who coaxed in a driving layup off a spin move and some hang time to give Barako Bull a 95-91 lead with 33 seconds remaining.
The bigger story, however, was Mick Pennisi, who went 3-for-3 from rainbow territory in the fourth quarter, along with Buenafe, when the Aces looked headed for a rout after posting an 80-65 spread.
He hit three in a row that tied the score, 83-all, with 4:24 to go.
“That’s what I’m here for – to shoot threes, not to look pretty,” said Pennisi, who missed his first three attempts from beyond the arc.
Sonny Thoss leveled the score, 93-all, after Jvee Casio set a pick that caught Pennisi in the paint. But Buenafe came up with his brilliant move and Aldrech Ramos missed a corner triple. Jc Intal and Willie Miller each hit a free throw in the waning seconds.
Cyrus Baguio had 20 points for the Aces (1-2) but was 2 for 7 in 3s and just had a point in the last quarter where Alaska went 0 for 6 in 3-point attempts.
The Energy Cola’s decision to trade away three first round picks in the draft had been widely criticized but they are weathering the storm fast.
Barako 97 – Buenafe 27, Isip 12, Jensen 9, Intal 9, Pennisi 9, Miller 8, Macapagal 5, Wilson 4, Villanueva 4, Miranda 4, Labagala 3, Pena 3.
Alaska 93 – Baguio 20, Thoss 16, Espinas 15, Casio 12, Jazul 9, Abueva 9, Avenido 4, Ramos 4, Hontiveros 2, Eman 2, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0.
Quarters: 21-16, 44-40, 63-76, 97-93
Ginebra 97 – Caguioa 22, Aguilar 19, Slaughter 18, Tenorio 10, Ellis 9, Helterbrand 6, Reyes 5, Ababou 3, Forrester 3, Baracael 2, Monfort 0, Mamaril 0.
Rain or Shine 84 – Arana 21, Chan 14, Cruz 11, Almazan 9, Belga 8, Nuyles 6, Lee 5, Rodriguez 4, Norwood 3, Quinahan 2, Ibanes 1, Tang 0, Teng 0.
Quarters: 29-19, 48-37, 68-62, 97-84