CEBU CITY - Petron import Renaldo Balkman proved good as advertised and score a game-high 28 points in leading the Boosters to a 90-83 win over Barangay Ginebra in the main game of a Thursday doubleheader ushering the 2013 Sinulog Cup at the Cebu Coliseum here.
Balkman, who had stints with Denver and New York in the NBA, repeatedly outplayed and outmuscled his defenders for 19 first-half points, including 11 in the second quarter.
In one stretch during that scoring binge, he scored five straight points, highlighted by an alley-oop slam that put the Boosters on top, 28-23, after trailing 15-23 at the end of the first quarter.
He scored the last four points of that spurt to give Petron a 48-39 lead at the half.
The Kings rallied their way back and threatened at 61-65 on two free-throws by rookie big man Yousef Taha off the sixth and final foul by Petron's Cebuano rookie June Mar Fajardo.
But Balkman conspired with Joseph Yeo and Arwind Santos to push the lead back to 75-64.
Ginebra though still had one last fight left.
The Kings threatened for the last time at 83-87 on a lay-up by import Herbert Hill, but Denok Miranda sealed the win for the Boosters with a three-pointer that beat the shot-clock buzzer in the final 25 seconds.
Santos finished with 15 points while Alex Cabagnot added 12 for Petron.
The Kings were led by the 15 of reigning league MVP Mark Caguioa while Kerby Raymundo, rookie Chris Ellis and Hill each tallied 12 markers.