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Aces eye equalizer

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Game Today
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Alaska vs Globalport
(Game 2 best-of-seven semifinals)
Game Tomorrow
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
7 p.m. – Rain or Shine vs San Miguel Beer (Game 2 best-of-seven semifinals)

As soon as Globalport coach Pido Jarencio began his post game interview after Batang Pier won Game 1 of the semifinal series, his first thoughts were on the Alaska Aces and how tough that team is – reason why they are bracing for a long Final Four showdown.

Jarencio knows, however, a remedy in Alaska’s comeback bid: consistency.

That is what he expects from his players as Globalport tries to sustain the energy from its stunning series opener win as it guns for a 2-0 lead when it battles Alaska anew in Game 2 of their semifinal duel in the Smart Bro PBA Philippine Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Alaska is a tough team, and it’s going to be a long series. Sigurado mahaba ito,” Jarencio said following his team’s 107-93 win last Monday at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

“Siguro kailangan maging consistent kami,” he added.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is set at 7 p.m.

A first time semifinalist after entering the pro league in 2012, Batang Pier came through with a gutsy performance in Game 1 where they used a strong start (24-6) and then held on despite several attempts of the top seeded Aces to turn things around.

Globalport’s third year ace guard Terrence Romeo delivered big as he recorded a career-best 41 points on 12-of-21 shooting from the field, including 6-of-11 from three-point territory in nearly 40 minutes of action.

Even the Aces’ coach Alex Compton was impressed with Romeo’s performance.

“Terrence is a tremendous talent,” said Compton, who put different defenders on Romeo – including Calvin Abueva – but the onetime UAAP MVP from Far Eastern University was too quick as he scored on every corner.

Romeo is very much capable of scoring again, but with Alaska defense sure to collapse on him in Game 2, Jarencio hopes that the other half of the ‘dynamic duo’ in Stanley Pringle will have a better performance.

The sophomore Pringle did collect 14 points but he went 6-of-18 from the perimeter, just 1-of-7 from three-point area. He also had six rebounds and four assists, but Jarencio is confident the Fil-Am guard is capable of doing more than what he did in Game 1.

“Full of confidence ako kay Terrence, kay Stanley, sa buong team,” said Jarencio.

Veteran players Billy Mamaril and Doug Kramer are will also be relied up, as the former contributed 12 points, eight of which came in the fourth quarter, with seven boards, while the latter added six points and 10 rebounds – a department controlled by the Batang Pier, 50-47.

“They beat us fair and square,” said Compton, pointing to his team’s woeful free throw shooting of 18-of-33 as one of the culprits in their setback. “Thank God we were not in that knockout game (quarterfinals).”

“Every player, every team… sometimes you have an individual flat or a collective flat. They beat us and they deserved it.”

For them to bounce back from the humiliating defeat, Compton said they have to come out with a better effort on defense, particularly on their ‘full court’ defense they have been successful in implementing since last season.

On the offensive end, while five players scored in double digit with Cyrus Baguio collecting 15 points, other players struggled from the field as JV Casio went 1-of-9 (five points), while Calvin Abueva was 5-of-14 (12 points).