GLOBALPORT’s import gambit paid off as it stunned Meralco, 94-86, to stay alive in the playoff race of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Third time appeared to be the charm for the Batang Pier as they paraded their third import this conference in Justin Harper, who delivered in his debut with 30 points and missed a double-double by just one rebound.
Trade acquisitions Sean Anthony and Bradwyn Guinto also made significant contributions in their first game for the Batang Pier, who won for the second time in three games and third overall in nine games, while also dealing the pacesetting Bolts only their second loss in nine games.
“A lot of people were asking why we changed import, and we needed a scoring import and one who will give us a new dimension in our game,” GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren said as they missed top scorer Terrence Romeo, who’s on loan to Gilas Pilipinas.
Anthony picked up the offensive slack as he registered 18 points, including half in the payoff period, and eight boards, one assist, and one steal in 27 minutes off the bench, while Guinto, another former NLEX player, chipped in eight points, seven boards, and one block in 22 minutes.
Anthony scored half of his output in the payoff period, where the Batang Pier engaged the Bolts in a see-saw affair before Stanley Pringle, Mike Cortez, and Guinto put on the finishing touches for the squad.
Pringle scored the two free throws that broke the last deadlock at 81-all, then Cortez converted a vintage floater, before Guinto scored on a reverse layup against Bolts import Alex Stepeheson to cap six unanswered points that gave them enough separation.
Stepheson put up another workmanlike effort with 19 points, 27 boards, three blocks, and three assists, while Justin Chua added 16 markers, although he scored just two points in the second half for the Bolts.
GLOBALPORT 94 – Harper 30, Anthony 18, Pringle 16, Cortez 13, Guinto 8, Grey 3, Pessumal 2, Paredes 2, Mamaril 2, Forrester 0, Urbiztondo 0
MERALCO 86 – Stepheson 19, Chua 16, Dillinger 14, Amer 11, Newsome 8, Uyloan 6, Daquioag 2, Hodge 2, Yeo 2, Caram 2, Hugnatan 2, Nabong 2, Faundo 0
Quarterscores: 26-25, 43-42, 61-65, 94-86