BARAKO Bull kept turning doubters into believers, repelling a pesky Globalport, 123-114, on Sunday to maintain its unlikely position atop the PBA Governors’ Cup leaderboard at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Energy squandered an early lead but regained their bearings when it mattered to overcome a fellow up-and-coming side in the Batang Pier and sustain their best start in franchise history.
Hulking Barako import Liam McMorrow continued to assert his might in the paint, producing 41 points and 27 boards with less than two minutes of rest.
The 7-foot-2 Canadian slotman was the recipient of timely passes by Joseph Yeo, who facilitated the offense with aplomb and came up with 19 points and 10 assists.
“We did a good job in sticking to our formula,” Energy coach Koy Banal said. “We were down, but we didn’t give up.”
Barako thus won for the sixth time in seven games to move closer to clinching an early quarterfinal berth and a twice-to-beat advantage that comes with it, while the Batang Pier dropped to an even 4-4 win-loss card.
While McMorrow and Yeo carried most of the load, veteran Willie Wilson and sophomore Carlo Lastimosa provided the spark as they combined for 16 points in the fourth to be the difference in a see-saw battle that saw 12 lead changes and eight deadlocks.
Dylan Ababou also proved to be a factor, hitting two crucial three-pointers midway through the payoff period, the second from the left wing that capped 10-2 run and gave the Energy a 104-95 lead, enough cushion to weather a late Batang Pier push.
Jarrid Famous tallied 32 points and 22 rebounds, while Terrence Romeo put up import-like numbers as well with 30 markers on a surprisingly efficient 13-of-24 shooting, on top of six assists. Two of the local star’s output came at the seven-minute, 46-second mark when the Batang Pier came to within 94-93.
BARAKO 123 – McMorrow 41, Yeo 19, Lastimosa 14, Intal 14, Garcia 10, Wilson 9, Lanete 6, Ababou 6, Pascual 4, Chua 0, Maierhofer 0
GLOBALPORT 114 – Famous 32, Romeo 30, Pringle 16, Krayem 11, Buenafe 8, Kramer 8, Mamaril 4, Semerad 3, Ponferada 2, Hayes 0, Jensen 0
Quarterscores: 27-20, 45-50, 87-80, 123-114