BARAKO BULL completed an impressive fourth-quarter comeback behind its tenacious defense and crisp outside shooting as it outlasted Air21, 91-86, to grab a share of second place on Friday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Josh Urbiztondo starred for the Energy Cola as he hit two big three-pointers and pulled off two big steals during a decisive 20-5 windup that wiped out the Express' 10-point lead inside the final five minutes.
“Maybe it’s the most important win for us because it was came at a very difficult circumstance,” Barako Bull team consultant Rajko Toroman said after the Barako Bull's third win in four games.
Barako Bull played without Sean Anthony, Celino Cruz, Roger Yap and Emman Monfort and had guard Jonas Villanueva on limited minutes due to injury, but managed to claw back from a 71-81 deficit with less than five minutes to play.
“They (Express) played very aggressive. They scouted us well but at the end of the day, it was a sweet win for us and we’re 3-1 now,” added Toroman.
The veteran Urbiztondo scored 13 of his 15 points in the final period, while adding five assists and four steals in another complete game to earn Player of the Game honors.
It was Barako Bull’s second straight come-from-behind win after winning in similar fashion against Globalport. In that game, the Energy Cola bounced back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit, forced overtime and went on to win with Urbiztondo and Villanueva doing much of the damage in the end.
It was a sorry loss for the Express, who drew 30 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks from all-around import Michael Dunigan. But Dunigan’s herculean effort was not enough as the Express absorbed their second straight loss after winning their conference opener against Barangay Ginebra, 74-70.
Evan Brock led the Energy Cola with 23 points and 15 rebounds, while JC Intal, who spent much of the season on the injured list, finally came up big with 16 points.
Barako Bull 91 - Brock 23, Intal 16, Urbiztondo 15, Seigle 10, Villanueva 9, Maliksi 7, Pennisi 5, Kramer 3, Allado 2, Macapagal 1
Air21 86 - Dunigan 30, Canaleta 15, Cortez 14, Ritualo 7, Arboleda 6, Wilson 4, Custodio 4, Isip 4, Omolon 2, Atkins 0, Sena 0, Baclao 0
Quarterscores: 27-18, 46-47, 61-66, 91-86