Reduced to despair after the Meralco Bolts stole victory on a buzzer-beating running shot by import Josh Davis Sunday, the Batang Pier sustained a third quarter surge in crushing the slumping Energy, 99-81, last night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Globalport picked up its third win in six games to move up to 6th spot from 8th while handing Barako Bull its second straight loss after a 3-0 start, a setback that nonetheless kept the Energy at 4th place..
“Malaking lesson sa’min yung Meralco game, di lang sa mga players but also sa coaching staff,” said GlobalPort coach Eric Gonzales. “We need not only to start strong but also to finish strong.”
Against the unbeaten Bolts, the Batang Pier tied the game, 84-all, on a 3-point shot by Ronjay Buenafe only to suffer a heartbreaker by failing to contain the ultra-aggressive Davis, who attacked the defense after easily getting the inbounds pass and swished in a left-handed floater just inside the free throw line.
This time GlobalPort refused to let go after is seized the upper hand behind an 11-0 third quarter run triggered by rookie Stanley Pringle, who had 7 of his 14 points during the period.
Buenafe, who missed 6 of 7 3-point attempts, hit the one that mattered in the middle of that pivotal run where the Batang Pier turned a 49-48 deficit into a 59-49 lead which they never relinquished.
Pringle, who deferred to Terrence Romeo every time they were together inside, took a backseat in the fourth quarter as the one-on-one specialist from Far Eastern University scored 7 of his 24 points and second-day import Calvin Warner 14 of his 23 points.
The journeyman Warner, who replaced 6-foot-9 CJ Leslie, also had 20 rebounds while Pringle hauled down 9.
Barako Bull continued to miss sparkplug Solomon Mercado, still hobbling after hurting his big toe in a collision with Joseph Yeo during the game against Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, and his absence left a big dent in the Energy’s offense.
“Definitely we missed Sol, but hopefully he’ll be back in our next game,” said Barako Bull coach Koy Banal. “Wala naman kaming problema other than we’re just struggling right now.”
Seven-footer Solomon Alabi had a monster game for the Energy, with 37 points and 28 rebounds. But he got little support from his teammates, especially in the fourth quarter where he accounted for 14 of Barako Bull’s 19 points.
GlobalPort dominated the last 12 minutes, 33 to 9, and picked up 25 points from 22 Barako Bull turnovers, 6 by Alabi and 5 by point guard Chico Lanete.
Barako Bull tried but found on its bench nobody to put on Pringle and Romeo when the two isolation experts started burning rubber and the defense in the second half. And with Warner, held to 9 points in the first three quarters, negating Alabi’s fourth period output, the Batang Pier steadily broke away.
Gonzales said Warner, about 4 inches shorter than Leslie, has given Globalport much-needed inside presence and maturity.
“We needed someone mature enough to guide our young team,” Gonzales said.
GLOBALPORT 99 – Romeo 24, Warner 23, Pringle 14, Isip 14, Buenafe 7, Jensen 7, Miranda 4, Semerad 4, Caperal 2, Taha 0, Ponferada 0, Pinto 0, Nbong 0, Baclao 0, De Ocampo 0.
BARAKO BULL 81 – Alabi 37, Lastimosa 12, Lanete 11, Pascual 6, Garcia 5, Intal 4, Chua 2, Matias 2, Hubalde 2, Salvador 0, Mercado 0, Marcelo 0, Salva 0, Paredes 0, Sorongon 0.
Quarters: 17-27, 45-44, 66-62, 99-81
KIA 95 – Ramos 32, Revilla 18, Poligrates 15, Pascual 8, Avenido 8, Thiele 4, Yee 4, Cawaling 3, Buensuceso 2, Pacquiao 1, Dehesa 0, Alvarez 0, Bagatsing 0.
PUREFOODS 84 – Barroca 18, Devance 12, Pennisi 12, Pingris 10, Melton 8, Simon 7, Maliksi 7, Orton 6, Taha 2, Mallari 2.
Quarterscores: 21-19, 44-50, 68-75, 95-84