GLOBALPORT figured out how to deal with a resilient team this time as it held off Meralco, 97-89, on Friday to start the year on a winning note in the PBA Philippine Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Atoning for a disappointing two-point loss to Phoenix in a game where they blew a huge 26-point lead, the Batang Pier had to deal with another comeback from the Bolts, but proved steadier down the stretch.
Terrence Romeo and JR Quinahan came through down the stretch, combining to score the Batang Pier’s last eight points as they snapped a two-game skid to improve to a 4-3 win-loss card.
The Bolts, on the other hand, suffered a fourth straight setback to fall to 2-5 after their fightback from 16 points down fell short.
“We weren’t able to keep that composure together (against Phoenix), but this time, they didn’t rush things and didn’t panic, but stuck to our game plan,” GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren said.
After all, the Batang Pier allowed the Bolts to rally from a 40-24 deficit in the second quarter and pull to within one entering the final frame where GlobalPort finally had an answer to every Bolts basket.
Romeo registered 12 of his game-high 27 points in the payoff period, including two on a floater that gave his team a 93-87 lead as he completed another all-around effort with five boards, five assists, and one steal in 38 minutes.
Quinahan, with more spring in his step thanks to a no-carbs diet, scored four of his 11 points in the last two minutes, the last on a stab after faking off Chris Newsome off a feed from Stanley Pringle that put them up, 95-87, virtually sealing the deal.
Reynel Hugnatan shone for the Bolts with 23 points and five rebounds in 34 minutes that went for naught.
GLOBALPORT 97 – Romeo 27, Canaleta 13, Mamaril 12, Cortez 12, Quinahan 11, Pringle 9, Aban 9, Mierhofer 2, Paredes 2, Banal 0, Urbiztondo 0, Pessumal 0
MERALCO 89 – Hugnatan 23, Grey 18, Newsome 16, Hodge 12, Daquioag 12, Buenafe 3, Faundo 2, Caram 2, Amer 1, Uyloan 0, Nabong 0, Ferriols 0
Quarterscores: 26-19, 51-41, 72-71, 97-89