Import Leroy Hickerson had a good all-around game and the Barako Bull locals did their share by hitting key baskets in a 109-100 win over Air21 on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Hickerson came up with 38 points, eight boards, and eight assists to lead the squad to its third victory in five games in the PBA Governors Cup.
“A monster game from our import,” Energy coach Junel Baculi said.
It was actually Air21’s Zachary Graham who topped the stats sheets with 41 points and 17 rebounds and three Express players had twin digits with James Sena, Mark Isip, and Bitoy Omolon scoring 16, 11, and 10 points.
But the numbers are deceiving as Graham, who entered the game as the league’s leading scorer at 36.3 points per game, had little help when it mattered. He scored 15 of Air21’s 31 points in the fourth quarter.
Aside from Hickerson, Mick Pennisi and Doug Kramer were the only double-figure scorers for Barako.
But they scored when it mattered.
With the Barako lead down to single digits halfway through the third, Pennisi buried a triple with four minutes and 45 seconds left to give the Energy another double-digit cushion at 72-60.
Kramer’s four straight points midway through the fourth also gave his squad a comfortable 102-88 lead.
The Express actually had a 58-51 rebounding edge over the Energy, but failed to capitalize.
“We were outrebounded even though we were taller,” Baculi said. “But we responded well.”
Although it was a convincing win, the Energy are hoping to get more help in the coming games and are counting on the quick return of 6-foot-6 Danny Seigle, who was sidelined with a calf injury.
“I hope he can play again because we badly need another big man who can help us with our rebounding woes,” Baculi said.