GLOBALPORT withstood a late rally by NLEX to hack out a 96-90 win and clinch a quarterfinal berth in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier almost saw an 18-point lead disintegrate, before proving steady down the stretch to put away their second straight victory and fifth overall in eight games.
Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle conspired as usual, pumping in 56 points combined as the Batang Pier handed the Road Warriors a second straight setback to drop to an even 4-4 win-loss card.
It was a double celebration for Romeo, the former Far Eastern University star whose collegiate team captured the UAAP crown with a gutsy win in Game Three over University of Santo Tomas just moments earlier.
On the other hand, it was a timely tonic for Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio, the former UST mentor whose Growling Tigers once again came up short of the title.
“Itong Globalport, talagang may focus,” Jarencio said. “At least hindi na tayo nawawala sa quarters, unlike nung una kong hawak, dalawang panalo lang, ang hirap na makuha.”
The Batang Pier appeared poised for a runaway victory as they posted several 18-point leads, the last at 75-57 after a Roi Sumang basket late in the third quarter, before the Road Warriors embarked on a spirited comeback.
NLEX came to within two points, 92-90, after a Kevin Alas floater and a free throw for a three-point play with a little over a minute left, but committed a foul on the other end that resulted in two charities by Billy Mamaril that sealed the deal.
GlobalPort also lived up to its word of tightening up on defense as it limited NLEX to just 36-percent (32-of-89) shooting.
Asi Taulava bounced back from a sub-par performance for NLEX as he tallied 29 points, 12 boards, four assists, one block, and one steal that all went for naught.
GLOBALPORT 96 – Romeo 29, Pringle 27, Jensen 14, Mamaril 9, Kramer 7, Washington 6, Pena 2, Sumang 2, Maierhofer 0, Semerad 0, Taha 0, Yeo 0
NLEX 90 – Taulava 29, Anthony 17, Villanueva J. 10, Alas 9, Cardona 8, Villanueva E. 8, Khobuntin 5, Enciso 2, Lanete 2, Arboleda 0, Borboran 0, Reyes 0
Quarterscores: 24-16, 53-35, 77-70, 96-90