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PBA: Globalport on a roll

Star Hotshot's Marcus Blakely dunks the ball in a game against GlobalPort during PBA action at MOA Arena.   Photo by Tony PIonillaGames Today (Cuneta Astrodome)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs NLEX
7 p.m. – Kia vs Ginebra

Manila, Philippines – In the end, it all came down to Stanley Pringle, Globalport’s ankle-breaking point guard, taking on Star Hotshots’ Marc Pingris, the PBA’s best defensive player, with 34 seconds remaining and the game on the line.

The isolation play. Offense versus defense. Challenge and acceptance. Playground basketball at its purest essence.

Pido Jarencio, the Globalport coach, himself an unstoppable force during his time, says the play was designed during their previous timeout after Star’s (formerly Purefoods) Joe Devance and Mark Barroca botched an all-important post-inbound hand-off.

No doubting the man of the hour, with three straight wins so far. Still, it was Pringle who crystallized the concept and blazed a trail for impertinent challenges bound to go Pingris’ way from now on.

Pringle spent most the 24-shot clock dribbling and timing his attack from top of the keyhole in a clear-out situation. He made his move with about five seconds remaining, going to his left and letting Pingris slide by with a little push of the right arm. Pulling up for spread-eagle jumper, Pringle knocked down the shot to give the Batang Pier a four-point lead and the cushion in a 91-89 shocker in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“Play talaga yon for Stanley,” said Jarencio, who showed his faith on his so-called “three-headed monsters” – Pringle, Terrence Romeo and Ronjay Buenafe – by letting them go one-on-one on a regular basis to disrupt the defense and exploit mismatches.

At least this conference, add a fourth head in the Globalport offense with Palestinian import Omar Krayem, who had a game-high 20 points, including back-to-back 3s from way out to complete a 9-0 Batang Pier run that wiped out a six-point deficit and put them ahead, 86-82.

Romeo added 17, his last basket a scoop layup that shattered an 87-all count with 1:51 left, while Pringle added 15 points and inbounded the ball that resulted in a pileup close to the Globalport bench and sparked a verbal exchange between PBA commissioner Chito Salud and Star coach Tim Cone at midcourt after the final buzzer.

After Pringle made it 91-89, Star import Marcus Blakely scored on a putback with 7.9 seconds to go. Globalport called successive timeouts before Pringle got the inbound pass in only to trigger a pileup, with the ball going out of bounds.

A review was almost inconclusive, with the referees giving possession nonetheless to Globalport, who finally ended a string of nine successive losses to the Purefoods franchise.

Former Air21 import Steve Thomas arrived at short notice for Paul O’Bryant and huffed-and-puffed his way to 12 points and 16 rebounds.

Meanwhile, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao makes his celebrated return to the PBA after his mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. when his Kia Carnival takes on Barangay Ginebra San Miguel at 7 p.m.

In the first game, the Meralco Bolts (1-1) hope to parade Japanese import Seiya Ando, a FIBA Under-18 star for his country, when they take on the NLEX Road Warriors (0-2) at 4:15 p.m.

The Carnival are gunning for their second straight win against the depleted Kings, who absorbed their second consecutive loss in the absence of big men Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, both suffering from minor foot injuries.

Pacquiao’s business manager, Eric Pineda, also the Carnival team manager, said the Kia player-coach could make a surprise appearance this afternoon.

GLOBALPORT 91 – Krayem 20, Romeo 17, Pringle 15, Thomas 12, Buenafe 8, Kramer 7, Semerad 3, Miranda 3, Mamaril 2, Isip 2, Jensen 2, Taha 0, Ponferada 0, Pinto 0, Hayes 0.

STAR 89 – Blakely 19, Yap 12, Mallari 11, Simon 10, Barroca 9, Melton 8, Pingris 6, Devance 5, Pennisi 5, Maliksi 4, Reavis 0, Gaco 0, Allado 0, Alvarez 0.

Quarters: 23-16, 38-43, 65-68, 91-89

SAN MIGUEL 104 – Reid 36, Fajardo 22, Cabagnot 9, Lassiter 9, Tubid 8, Santos 6, Lutz 4, Ross 4, Espinas 4, Reyes 2, Omolon 0.

RAIN OR SHINE 91 – McKines 19, Lee 17, Norwood 12, Quinahan 12, Cruz Jericho 11, Almazan 8, Uyloan 7, Ibanes 3, Belga 2, Teng 0, Arana 0, Cruz Jervy 0.

Quarters: 25-20, 43-42, 75-59, 104-91