KIA pricked Barako Bull’s pride with a resolute defensive stand to hack out a stunning 71-68 victory on Wednesday and enhance its postseason bid in the PBA Governors’ Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The giant-slaying Carnival clamped down on the Energy’s focal points on offense by limiting Liam McMorrow to just 12 points in 40 minutes just three days after the towering Canadian poured in 41 points in a win over Globalport.
Kia also shackled Joseph Yeo as the Barako gunner went scoreless after missing all his 11 shots in 39 minutes.
As a team, Kia held the Energy, who came in as the top offensive team in the tournament with an average of 108.3 points per game, to lowest output this season.
The Carnival thus improved to a 4-3 win-loss record for fourth spot and dealt the Energy only their second loss in eight games that dropped their victims to a share of second spot.
“It was a very hard game,” said Carnival coach Chito Victolero, whose team came in on top of the conference in blocks at 5.7 and two-point field goal percent allowed at 44.2. “I challenged my players to give their best effort and bring back the pride of being the number one in defense.”
Taiwanese guard Jett Chang carried the brunt of the load on offense, firing 15 points that was enough to take game-high honors in a grind-out, see-saw battle that saw 13 lead changes and 11 deadlocks.
But it was Senegalese slotman Hamady N’Diaye and familiar hero Hyram Bagatsing who delivered the biggest baskets down the stretch, the former throwing down the dunk that knotted the count at 67 and the latter scoring the go-ahead basket with a contested layup in the next possession.
N’Diaye finished with eight points and continued to anchor the defense by putting up 14 boards, five blocks, and two steals with less than a minute of rest.
KIA 71 – Chang 15, Revilla 10, Thiele 9, Bagtsing 9, N'Diaye 8, Deutchman 8, Alvarez 5, Webb 4, Buensuceso 3, Dehesa 0, Nuyles 0, Pascual 0
BARAKO 68 – Lastimosa 13, Lanete 13, McMorrow 12, Garcia 11, Maierhofer 9, Intal 4, Wilson 4, Pascual 2, Yeo 0, Hubalde 0, Chua 0, Ababou 0
Quarterscores: 18-23, 35-34, 54-54, 71-68