PETRON Blaze stepped on the gas in the final six minutes and put the clamps on Globalport’s gunners to score a 98-87 come-fro-behind victory and rev up their twice-to-beat hopes in the PLDT myDSL-PBA Philippine Cup on Friday night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Boosters took advantage of a turnover-plagued second half play by the Batang Pier, scoring on easy transition baskets and relying on the inside plays of Arwind Santos and fit-again June Mar Fajardo, who returned from a three-game absence due to an MCL injury on his right knee.
Santos and Fajardo led Petron’s blazing 15-2 blitz to turn an 80-79 Globalport lead into a 94-82 lead entering the final two minutes.
“Tough win for us because we had to grind it especially in the second half,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla, whose team regained solo second spot with its 9-3 record.
Abanilla said renowned orthopedic doctor Raul Canlas gave Fajardo the go-signal to play late on Thursday afternoon, which gave the Boosters the extra inside threat they sorely lacked the past three games.
“I think June Mar gave us a different look. It’s really different when he’s playing defensively and offensively that’s why we played better when he’s on a floor,” he added.
Hastening Globalport’s downfall was the loss of Fil-Am forward Jay Washington, who only played five minutes in the first period after hurting his plantar fasiitis.
The 6-foot-7 Washington, averaging more than 20 points per contest, left the team’s bench at the end of the first period and didn’t return.
Santos meantime, wreaked havoc against Globalport’s defense, pouring 19 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, to go along with 10 rebounds in another strong double-double effort.
Marcio Lassiter added 16, while Chris Lutz added 13 for the Boosters.
The 6-foot-10 Fajardo finished with 12 points and six boards in 29 minutes of action in his comeback game.
The Batang Pier dropped their fifth straight loss to fall into a tie with the Alaska Aces for eighth and ninth spot with similar 4-8 records.
Jaypee Belencion led the Batang Pier with 21 points.
PETRON (98) -- Santos 25, Lassiter 16, Lutz 13, Fajardo 12, Kramer 11, Cabagnot 10, Tubid 7, Deutchman 2, Ross 2, Lanete 0.
GLOBALPORT (87) -- Belencion 21, Mercado 16, Nabong 15, Chua 9, Salvador 8, Garcia 8, Romeo 4, Menk 2, Salva 2, Najorda 1, Hayes 1, Washington 0.
Quarterscores: 20-22; 39-51; 68-68; 98-87.