Globalport leaned on a strong start and then held on to beat struggling Alaska, 94-84, extending the team’s franchise-best win streak to three in the 2014 PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Veteran guard Sol Mercado again typified the Batang Pier’s resolve as he scattered 26 points off the bench, including 16 in the second quarter, while rookie Terrence Romero contributed 21 markers, 13 of which he scored in the first period.
Romeo and Mercado’s scoring binge in the first half allowed Globalport to open a 20-point lead at halftime break (55-35). The Batang Pier led by as many as 21 points, 68-47, on Mercado’s split free throws with 6:28 left in the third frame.
Coming into the game, Mercado averages almost 19 points while Romeo, the No. 5 overall pick in the PBA Rookie Draft and the only freshman in the Top 10 scoring department, nearly 16 points.
The win improved Globalport’s record to 4-3 for solo fourth place in the team standings.
The victory also matched the most wins by the franchise during its maiden campaign in the PBA last season when it finished with a 4-5 record in the Governors’ Cup, where it qualified in the quarterfinal playoffs but lost to Petron Blaze.
“We were able to play good defense and sustain all the runs (of Alaska in the second half),” said Globalport interim coach Ritchie Ticzon. “Good for us is that we were able to hit the big shots and we executed very well down the stretch.”
“We won’t look at the record. We just want to play hard every game, and we just want to work very hard. The wins will come to us,” added Ticzon, who replaced Junel Baculi two weeks before the 39th Season of the pro league.
Alaska, which played sans Calvin Abueva (sprained left ankle), cut the deficit to 10 points, 75-85, but Globalport rookie RR Garcia buried back-to-back three-pointers to put the game away and sealed the win for the Batang Pier.
Garcia finished with 13 points, while Jay Washington had the same point production and added nine boards and five assists. Mark Yee contributed 10 points for Globalport, which converted 32-of-72 from the field (44.4%) and controlled the rebounding department, 49-43.
JV Casio scored 28 points but Alaska dropped to 2-5.
In the nightcap, Barangay Ginebra defeated Barako Bull,85-79, for its fith win in six games.
Meanwhile, unbeaten Petron Blaze goes for its seventh win when it battles Meralco in an out-of-town game today at the Dipolog City Coliseum.
The Boosters are wary that the Bolts can pose a serious threat to their perfect slate, especially after upset victories over Ginebra and San Mig Coffee this conference.
“We are trying to brace ourselves versus a very tough Meralco team,” said Petron Blaze coach Gee Abanilla. “We’re still trying to get everybody on the same page and work on our fluidity but for sure we want to be the best that we could be and play to our potential.”
The game is set at 3:30 p.m., three days after Petron escaped with a 90-88 victory over Air21 on Alex Cabagnot’s game-winning jumper. (Waylon Galvez)
GLOBALPORT 94 – Mercado 26, Romeo 21, Washington 13, Garcia 13, Yee 10, Chua 3, Hayes 3, Lingganay 2, Nabong 2, Menk 1, Salva 0, Salvador 0.
ALASKA 84 – Casio 28, Thoss 13, Jazul 10, Espinas 9, Baguio 8, Ramos 7, Exciminiano 6, Buenafe 3, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0, Eman 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 55-35, 77-58, 94-84
GINEBRA 85 – Aguilar 16, Slaughter 15, Baracael 15, Tenorio 10, Ellis 8, Reyes 7, Monfort 7, Helterbrand 5, Urbiztondo 2, Ababou 0, Mamaril 0, Caguioa 0.
BARAKO 79 – Miller 14, Pennisi 14, Isip 13, Jensen 8, Labagala 8, Lastimosa 6, Buenafe 5, Intal 5, Wilson 4, Pena 2, Maierhofer 0, Fortuna 0.
Quarters: 19-19, 41-32, 66-55, 85-79