Games Wednesday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Mahindra vs San Miguel
7 p.m. – NLEX vs Ginebra
RR Garcia emerged as the hero of the game that took an eternity to end as Star barged into the win column after needing an extra five-minute period to survive Globalport, 105-102, last night in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Garcia, who finished with 26 points on 11-of-13 shooting, proved his worth as an important addition to the Hotshots roster as he not only scored the tying basket in regulation but also hit the go-ahead freethrows in the dying seconds of the extra period to help his new team end its misery after two heartbreaking losses to start the conference.
Acquired from Phoenix after the end of the Commissioner’s Cup, the 5-foot-11 alumnus of Far Eastern University tied the count at 92-all late in the fourth with a one-handed layup off several Globalport defenders.
He then made Globalport counterpart Stanley Pringle for committing a deliberate foul with 8.4 seconds left in overtime by calmly sinking two foul shots that gave Star a 104-102 lead.
Mark Barroca split his two charities to extend Star’s lead, then Hotshots guard Alex Mallari forced Batang Pier’s Terrence Romeo to pass the ball to Joseph Yeo, whose desperation shot from three-point territory fell short from its target.
Yeo’s missed shot ended a game that was halted early in the fourth quarter when the lights went out due to the heavy downpour outside of the Big Dome, setting the stage for one of the longest games in recent memory, and for Garcia to play the starring role.
“Kailangan trumabaho kasi binigyan ako ng pagkakataon ng coaching staff,” said Garcia, who was Globalport’s sixth overall pick in the 2013 draft but is now playing for his fourth team after stints with Barako Bull and Phoenix.
“Malaking bagay yung kumpiyansa na binigay sa akin ng mga coaches and teammates ko, kaya binigay ko lang yung best ko. Pero hindi lang naman ako to, buong team. Masaya kasi nakuha din namin yung first win,” added Garcia.
Star’s rookie coach Jason Webb is glad to see his team pick up the win after difficult losses to Mahindra (100-92) and most recently against Blackwater (100-98).
“The game plan was simple, score more points than the opponent,” said Webb. “We wanted to start a little better but we can’t seem to start the conference right.
“I think RR pretty much adjusted well. I’m just happy for guys. He (Garcia) got his confidence going, it was fun seeing him and Terrence go at it, and it looked good. We gave up a lot to get him,” added Webb, referring to the trade that forced the Hotshots to let go of Yousef Taha, Ronald Pascual, Norbert Torres and Mark Cruz in exchange for Garcia.
Globalport dropped to 0-3, tied for dead last with idle Phoenix, despite 27 points from debuting import Michael Glover, who replaced Dominique Sutton.
STAR 105 – Garcia 26, Blakely 24, Simon 15, Barroca 11, Pingris 8, Maliksi 7, Sangalang 6, Mallari 4, Pascual 2, Reavis 2, Yap 0.
GLOBALPORT 102 – Glover 27, Romeo 27, Pringle 20, Yeo 11, Taha 10, Semerad 3, Dehesa 2, Kramer 2, Mamaril 0.
Quarters: 19-22; 42-44; 71-71; 92-92 (Reg.); 105-102 (OT).