WYNNE Arboleda was an unlikely hero as he led Air21’s torrid second-half onslaught on the way to an 87-72 victory over a skidding Globalport on Saturday night in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The 36-year-old Arboleda came off the bench and buried four three-pointers in the second half, combining with import Michael Dunigan in a 29-point turnaround that turned a 14-point deficit for the Express into a comfortable victory that carried the team to solo fifth place in the standings.
Defense also carried the Express to a franchise-best fourth straight win as they held the Batang Pier to just two field goals in the third period. Air21 outscored Globalport, 28-10 in the third period to take a comfortable 62-51 lead heading into the final period.
“It’’s nice to make it four in a row ... I guess we’re quite lucky again. Every time we play Globalport, they have a new import, who had to adjust to his new team,” said Air21 coach Franz Pumaren.
Dunigan, one of few top-performing imports this conference, displayed his all-around skills once more after leading the Express with 22 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists and three steals.
KG Canaleta and Mike Cortez added 14 apiece, while Arboleda scored all 12 of his points in the second half, to go with six rebounds and five assists.
The Express improved to an even 5-5 record, putting them on course for a top four spot with four games left on their schedule.
On the other hand, Globalport dropped to 2-8 after its seventh straight defeat.
Globalport’s new import Sylvester Morgan debuted with 23 points, although much of his points in the second half came when the game was already decided.
Air21 87 - Dunigan 22, Canaleta 14, Cortez 14, Omolon 13, Arnoleda 12, Ritualo 6, Isip 4, Wilson 2, Sena 0, Baclao 0, Menor 0, Custodio 0
Globalport 72 - Morgan 23, Miller 16, Aguilar 11, David 9, Mercado 8, Lingganany 3, Yee 2, Mandani 0, Salvador 0, Adducul 0, Antonio 0
Quarterscores: 13-20, 34-41, 62-51, 87-72