VETERAN Alex Cabagnot took charge late in the game, firing a crucial three-pointer to lead GlobalPort to a 98-96 victory over Barako Bull, sparing the Batang Pier the embarrassment of finishing the PBA Commissioner's Cup campaign without a win.
Cabagnot, who scored a personal conference-high 29 points on Friday in a close loss to Talk ‘N Text, finished with 14 points, nine assists and four steals as he took over for a two-year-old franchise that has turned to him for leadership this conference.
“Naka-last trip kami, at least happy ending kasi last game ng conference nanalo,” said a beaming Pido Jarencio, who finally punched in his first win as a PBA head coach. "Eh siyempre, stepping stone na yan for the third conference. At least nakapanalo na ng isa."
The loss was tougher to take for Barako Bull which fell out of contention for the quarterfinals, giving Barangay Ginebra, Rain or Shine and Air21 a free ride to the playoffs.
Barako finished the elims with a 2-7 record.
The Batang Pier, who for much of the game rode on the hot-shooting hands of reigning Three-Point shooting king Mark Macapagal and import Evan Brock, squandered a 21-point second half lead.
With Ronjay Buenafe and JC Intal combining for 20 points in the fourth period, Barako Bull went on to tie the game at 93-all with under one minute to play.
But that’s where Cabagnot took over.
Reprising the late-game heroics he did time and again for former teams Petron and Sta. Lucia, Cabagnot drove from the middle before shifting to the left quarter court to swish in a three-point shot for a 96-93 lead.
An error off an inbounds pass by JC Intal at the other end led to two more Cabagnot free throws that iced GlobalPort's first win in nine games under Jarencio.
Brock led the Batang Pier with 27 points, 16 rebounds, three assistsm, three steals and two blocks.
Macapagal added 21 on five three-pointers for GlobalPort.
GlobalPort 98 - Brock 27, Macapagal 21, Cabagnot 14, Garcia 12, Nabong 9, Salva 7, Washington 4, Salvador 2, Custodio 2, Matias 0.
Barako Bull 96 - Dollard 22, Intal 16, Pennisi 13, Fortuna 11, Buenafe 11, Lastimosa 7, Marcelo 6, Miranda 4, Najorda 2, Jensen 2, Pena 2, Miller 0.
Quarterscores: 29-15, 51-42, 80-63, 98-96