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PBA: Barako stuns TNT

Barako Bull's Liam Pul McMorrow drives against TnT's Jay Washington during PBA action at Ynares Antipolo City.    Photo by Tony Pionilla

Game Today (Dipolog City)
5 p.m. – Barangay Ginebra vs Blackwater

Manila, Philippines – The Barako Bull Energy are back where they started in the previous conference – before they tragically lost their way.

Matching their 3-0 lead-off in the Commissioner’s Cup, the red-hot Energy throttled underhanded Talk ‘N Text, 100-87, last night to avenge a quarterfinal whipping and share leadership with Globalport in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

For once this season, the league’s underdogs are leading the pack while the alpha males slog behind. But Barako Bull knows everything can change with one snap of a finger.

After a mad dash to the front last conference, the seventh-ranked Energy lost steam and drop six of their next eight games, eventually getting sent off by the twice-to-beat No. 2 Tropang Texters, 127-97, in the playoffs.

That humiliating loss could have been a motivating factor that fueled Barako Bull’s rage as it built a 17-point lead in the third quarter, fought off TNT’s fourth period comeback and cruised smoothly to their third straight win.

TNT fell to 1-1, leaving Globalport, Barako Bull and Alaska (2-0) as the only unbeaten teams in the single round elimination.

“We talked about landing a big fish because they’re not complete,” said Energy coach Koy Banal. “A win is a win. We needed the confidence. I’m just grateful to the players for sustaining our strong start.”

TNT was without injured players Jayson Castro, Ranidel de Ocampo, and rookie Kevin Alas whose presence would have made all the difference. Jay Washington and the resurrected Willie Miller tried to fill the gap in backing up Steffphon Pettigrew, but Barako Bull’s locals had smelled an opportunity at payback and couldn’t be taken off the scent.

Liam McMorrow led the Energy’s overpowering inside presence with 26 points and 28 rebounds while Dylan Ababou added 17, JC Intal 14, RR Garcia 12, and Joseph Yeo 12, coming off the bench. Ababou and Intal each had three triples.

Barako Bull stampeded all over TNT in the paint, 52-30.

Pettigrew, whose 3-pointer in the last 59 seconds brought TNT within 94-87, had 23 points and 13 rebounds, but Jordanian import Sam Daghles, once a terror in the international scene, was 3 of 17 from the floor, clanging 6 of 8 three-point attempts.

Intal’s basket late in the third quarter gave Barako Bull a 71-54 advantage. A 5-2 TNT spurt to close the period sliced off a piece from the lead, but Ababou drained a 3 and the Energy, who converted 12 from beyond the arc, pushed it back up to 17.

Meanwhile. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel takes on winless Blackwater in the Petron Blaze Saturday Special in Dipolog City today.

The Kings, powered by Orlando Johnson, are fresh from a hard-fought 105-98 victory over Manny Pacquiao’s Kia Carnival that a two-game losing start.

The Elite, on the other hand, continue to search for their first win after dropping their first three games.

BARAKO BULL 100 – McMorrow 26, Ababou 17, Intal 14, Garcia 13, Yeo 12, Wilson 7, Pascual 6, Hubalde 5, Lastimosa 0, Chua 0, Maierhofer 0.

TALK N’ TEXT 87 – Pettigrew 23, Washington 14, Miller 11, Daghles 10, Fonacier 8, Williams 7, Seigle 7, Rosser 4, Reyes 0, Carey 0.

Quarters: 25-14, 50-41, 73-59, 100-87