KG Canaleta had 20 points in the first half as a starter and LA Revilla 17 coming off the bench and the Mahindra Enforcers rocked the Oppo-PBA Commissioner’s Cup yesterday by stunning last conference’s semifinalist Globalport, 111-98, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Canaleta, who was celebrating his 34th birthday, was hardly needed in the second half following his huge contribution as six other Enforcers came in with double figures against the Batang Pier’s porous defense.
Terrence Romeo took 33 shots, nearly half of Globalport’s total field goal attempts, and made 17 for 41 points, looking spectacular at the start of the third quarter where the former Far Eastern University star drilled in 14 straight points in a 14-2 run that cut a 60-47 Mahindra lead at the half to 62-61, less than five minutes into the period.
But Romeo appeared to have burned himself out after that incendiary stretch, going without a basket the rest of the third quarter and the first five minutes of the fourth as Mahindra, behind Revilla, Karl Dehesa, and Mark Yee, came through with clutch hits in re-establishing control and opening a 90-78 advantage with 9:54 left.
“It’s a total team effort,” said Mahindra assistant mentor Chito Victolero, who has been calling the shots in the absence of playing-coach Manny Pacquiao. “We have been working on our consistency and the little things we need to do. Last conference, we kept on fighting but we couldn’t finish.”
The Enforcers were right there in the end to close out Globalport, with Revilla getting teammates involved with five assists while getting the better of Romeo in a number of one-on-one matchups in the fourth quarter.
Even Yee shone some glow on his game, stripping Globalport import Brian Williams of possession and rejecting a Romeo layup on one end, and posting up Romeo and hitting a jumper over him on the other.
Stanley Pringle, starting in the absence of an ailing Jay Washington, hit a 3-pointer to spark an 8-0 lead that pushed the Batang Pier within 90-86.
Overall, however, Pringle, 4 of 13 from the floor, appeared lost on whether to raise his offensive level a couple of notches or to defer to Romeo whenever he got free and asked for the ball.
A Romeo triple made it a three-point Mahindra lead, 92-89, with 6:05 left as Globalport closed in. But Dehesa, a member of Calvin Abueva’s FIBA 3×3 Manila North team, had a 3 of his own and Ramos, Romeo’s teammate in the Manila West squad, converted another as the Enforcers moved on to safety with a decisive 11-0 run.
“Everybody stepped up because every wanted to prove something,” said Victolero, who team wound up with a 2-9 record in the Philippine Cup and was shut out from the playoffs along with 12th-placed Meralco.
Canaleta, more than anyone else, may have had a reason to showcase himself.
The subject of yet another trade talk recently, Canaleta was 8 of 11 from the floor in the first 24 minutes, hitting 4 of 6 from 3-point range as Mahindra opened a 31-23 edge in the first quarter.
Romeo had 17 at that point and would eventually overtake the former University of the East Red Warrior in the third quarter. But the Enforcers collectively rose to the challenge of Globalport’s one-man scoring machine, repeatedly putting down every Batang Pier comeback with clutch baskets all around.
MAHINDRA 111 – Canaleta 20, Revilla 17, Digregorio 14, Dehesa 12, Yee 11, Gilchrist 10, Guinto 10, Ramos 9, Pinto 5, Jaime 3.
GLOBALPORT 98 – Romeo 41, Williams 13, Pringle 12, Mamaril 9, Jensen 6, Taha 6, Yeo 4, Semerad 3, Kramer 2, Sumang 2, Maierhofer 0, Pena 0, Uyloan 0.
Quarters: 31-23, 60-47, 82-76, 111-98.