Ginebra overpowers Fajardo-less Petron
by Waylon Galvez
Manila, Philippines – Macmac Cardona scored a conference-high 28 points, including his team’s last four points as Air21 rallied from an 18-point deficit for a 109-103 overtime win over Globalport to snap a three-game losing skid in the PLDT myDSL PBA Philippine Cup last night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Cardona slammed the door on the Batang Pier when he scored a bank shot over Sol Mercado and Kelly Nabong for a 107-103 lead with 17.9 seconds left in the extra period before nailing two free throws after rookie RR Garcia missed a three-point attempt to complete the Express’ Christmas Day comeback.
The former La Salle standout also got some help from veteran center Asi Taulava and Joseph Yeo as Air21 secured just its second win in 10 outings.
Taulava had 28 points and 13 rebounds, his best performance since joining Air21 late last season, while Yeo notched his first career triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists.
The win revived Air21’s bid to enter the playoffs, reducing its deficit over Alaska, Barako Bull and Meralco, all with 3-6 records, to just 1 1/2 game for the last quarterfinals berth.
“Everybody is playing well even if we’re down,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.
Sophomore forward Vic Manuel had 14 points and 10 rebounds while KG Canaleta added 11 markers for the Express, who spoiled the 35-point performance of Globalport’s Sol Mercado.
“We just didn’t quit, it’s an improvement. It’s a total team effort, we didn’t quit. That’s a mark of a team that’s trying to improve our position. In spite of us losing we’re still upbeat about our situation. Hopefully by January we’ll be having new guys,” added Pumaren.
The Air21 mentor did not elaborate but said they are trying to work on a trade. With Simon Atkins out for the conference due to an ankle injury, Air21 is reportedly eyeing either Denok Miranda of Barako Bull or TY Tang of Rain or Shine in hopes of solidifying its depth at the point guard spot.
Globalport absorbed its second straight setback and dropped to 4-5.
Jay Washington finished 21 points and nine rebounds while rookie Terrence Romeo, who scored 34 points in the first meeting with Air21 last month, had 16 points.
Washington’s three-point play reduced Air21’s lead to 105-103 before Cardona answered back with his trademark one-hander.
The usually animated Cardona then thumped his chest a few times before letting out a scream in front of a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 fans.
In the main offering, a Fajardo-less Petron fell to sister team Barangay Ginebra, 97-83.
The Boosters tried to keep in step with the Kings weathered each attempted rally to seize the lead in the PBA Philippine Cup standings.
AIR21 109 – Taulava 28, Cardona 28, Yeo 19, Manuel 14, Canaleta 11, Camson 5, Jaime 2, Custodio 2, Menor 0, Arboleda 0, Sharma 0.
GLOBALPORT 103 – Mercado 35, Washington 21, Romeo 16, Salva 9, Lingganay 7, Menk 5, Salvador 4, Yee 2, Hayes 2, Garcia 2, Nabong 0, Chua 0.
GINEBRA 97 – Aguilar 25, Caguioa 18, Slaughter 17, Baracael 11, Ellis 8, Reyes 7, Urbiztondo 7, Monfort 3, Forrester 1, Ababou 0, Helterbrand 0, Tenorio 0, Faundo 0.
PETRON 83 – Santos 22, Lutz 15, Ross 14, Kramer 11, Cabagnot 7, Lassiter 5, Lanete 4, Hubalde 4, Taha 1, Duncil 0, Tubid 0, Deutchman 0.
Quarters: 28-19, 47-42, 71-63, 97-83
Quarters: 21-32; 47-53; 70-66; 93-93 (Reg); 109-103 (OT).