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From the bench where he watched the NLEX Road Warriors dominate his Globalport Batang Pier late in the game last night, pushing them closer to elimination, coaching consultant Franz Pumaren spent most of the 48 minutes on his seat, cool and composed.
But a buzzer that blared with 37 seconds remaining sprung him up to his feet in anger and put into motion a sequence of events that nearly spilled into the corridor leading to the locker rooms.
The horn sounding was for a timeout called by coach Boyet Fernandez with NLEX comfortably ahead, 113-98. Furious at the perceived disrespect shown by his counterpart, Pumaren dispatched assistant coach Eric Gonzales to call a timeout of their own.
Obliging, though scratching the back of his head, Gonzales called one and then lingered at the officials table, apparently in anticipation of what would follow next.
As soon as the timeout ran out, Pumaren ordered for another, unaware perhaps that the Batang Pier already had no more left. Globalport, nevertheless, got a second straight break but was assessed a technical for calling excessive timeouts, pegging the final score at 114-98 at the close of the acrimonious game in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Asked if he thought the late timeout was disrespectful, Pumaren responded, “Of course! Parang nakakaloko e. Only 37 seconds left and lamang sila by 15. What is he trying to prove?”
At the final buzzer, Pumaren dispensed with the customary coaches handshake at midcourt, heading outright for the exit.
Instead it was former Globalport coach Pido Jarencio who walked up to Fernandez, with NLEX assistant Adonis Tierra calming down Jarencio by assuring him that “it was possible, anything could still happen.”
Fernandez attended the post-game media interview at the press room but didn’t address the matter.
NLEX picked up its fifth win in 10 games to tie Meralco at sixth place, while Globalport, which lost steam after leading 12-4 early on and 59-51 at halftime, fell to 3-7 at 10th spot, its playoff bid dimming considerably.
Henry Walker led the Road Warriors with 35 points and 13 rebounds, while rookie Garvo Lanete, the hot hand in NLEX’s recent victory over Rain or Shine, continued his scorching streak with 25, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range.
“We did a good job stopping their Big 3 in the second half,” said Fernandez. “We paid attention to [Mike] Glover, [Stanley] Pringle and [Terrence] Romeo. Our guys didn’t want to go on an early vacation.”
Walker had 13 in the third quarter when NLEX rallied to wrest the lead, 88-79, with Kevin Alas and Asi Taulava adding 9 points each. No Globalport player had more than 5 during the period.
The advantage was at 111-90 late in the fourth, with NLEX drawing superior strength from its frontline, 52 points to 38, and under the offensive glass, 20-9.
Pringle and Romeo had 27 and 26 points, respectively for Globalport, and Glover 21. But the three combined for just 12 points in the third when NLEX was on the road back with a 37-20 scoring.
Pringle sparked a fiery first quarter for Globalport with 11 points in the first quarter as the Batang Pier set the tone, 31-25.
Romeo then took over in the second with 11 even as Lanete, who went of 6 of 9 from 3-point territory against ROS, started to hit his stride for NLEX.
Fernandez tempered expectations though.
“We’re not yet in the playoffs; we still have to play Alaska on Friday,” he said. (Tito S. Talao)
NLEX 114 – Walker 35, Lanete 25, Villanueva J. 14, Alas 11, Taulava 11, Baracael 5, Anthony 4, Khobuntin 4, Villanueva E. 3, Akl 2, Monfort 0, Reyes 0.
GLOBALPORT 98 – Pringle 27, Romeo 26, Glover 21, Salvacion 7, Semerad 6, Mamaril 5, Washington 4, Yeo 2, Taha 0.
Quarters: 25-31; 51-59; 88-79; 114-98.
GINEBRA 93 – Brownlee 27, Aguilar 19, Thompson 12, Slaughter 7, Mercado 5, Tenorio 4, Cruz 4, Devance 2, Helterbrand 2, Marcelo 2, Mariano 0.
MAHINDRA 86 – White 23, Taha 20, Aguilar 10, Revilla 10, Ramos 7, Digregorio 5, Galanza 4, Bagatsing 3, Agovida 2, Guinto 2, Ballesteros 0, Jaime 0, Mandani 0.
Quarters: 20-22, 43-34, 63-60, 93-86.