THE veteran mentor that he is, Franz Pumaren remains positive about GlobalPort forcing a do-or-die game with TnT Katropa for a berth in the semifinals of the PBA Philippine Cup.
Pumaren’s display of optimism came less than an hour after the Batang Pier lost Game One of their quarterfinals series against TnT Katropa, 109-101, to move on the verge of being eliminated in the season-opening conference.
”We’re still confident that we’re gonna level the series on Monday,” said Pumaren outside the Globalport dugout at the Mall of Asia Arena. “Maybe we’ll end up on Wednesday for sure.”
Game Two of the best-of-three series is set Monday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Game Three also to be played at the Big Dome on Wednesday, if necessary.
Again, the deadly backcourt duo of Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle carried the load for the Batang Pier as they combined for 47 points.
Unfortunately, the others failed to support their two superstars, according to Pumaren.
“I don’t think the bench really helped us today,” admitted the Globalport mentor. “If you look at the history of this conference, Terrence and Stanley they play well if they have less minutes on the floor.
“This time around I have to extend the minutes because we didn’t get any production from my other guys.”
The Batang Pier had an explosive start behind starters Pringle, Romeo, and veteran big man Mick Pennisi, who had 11 points in the first quarter alone when the team raced to a 29-17 lead and 34-24 going to the second period.
But the second unit failed to sustain the effort, allowing the Tropang Texters to grab the lead at 48-46, before settling at the half trailing 61-56.
“I must say this is our worst game this conference,” said Pumaren. “The second unit didn’t contribute.”