MAHINDRA outdueled GlobalPort, 111-98, in a seemingly all-Filipino affair to start its PBA Commissioner’s Cup campaign on a high note on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
With both teams’ imports hardly dominant, their local crews stepped up, with the Enforcers’ balanced effort outweighing Terrence Romeo’s one-man show for the Batang Pier.
Birthday-boy Nino Canaleta carried the fight early with 20 points in 14 minutes in the first half, before LA Revilla, Mike DiGregorio, Karl Dehesa, and Mark Yee took over the second half.
In all, eight players scored in twin digits for the Enforcers, more than enough to negate Romeo’s career-high-tying 41 points.
“It was a total team effort,” Enforcers coach Chito Victolero said. “We worked on our consistency in the offseason. Last conference, we kept on competing, but we couldn’t finish games. But now, we’ve worked on the little things.”
One of those games in the Philippine Cup was against the Batang Pier last December when they squandered a late six-point lead in overtime before falling, 118-116.
The Enforcers knew how to protect a lead this time, building an early double-digit cushion and maintaining it until the final buzzer.
Even with reinforcement Augustus Gilchrist finishing with just 10 points on 12 attempts and seven boards in 33 minutes, the Enforcers drew plenty of production from the rest.
Romeo matched his career-high with a three-pointer that nudged the Batang Pier to within three points, 92-89, but the Enforcers scored 11 unanswered points to take the fight out of their opponents.
Only three players reached double-figure scoring for Globalport, with import Brian Williams finishing with 13 points, 16 boards, five assists, and one block, against seven turnovers in 37 minutes.
Mahindra 111 - Canaleta 20, Revilla 17, Digragorio 14, Dehesa 12, Yee 11, Gilchrist 10, Guinto 10, Ramos 9, Pinto 5, Jaime 3.
GlobalPort 98 - Romeo 41, Williams 13, Pringle 12, Mamaril 9, Jensen 6, Taha 6, Yeo 4, Semerad 3, Kramer 2, Sumang 2, Maierhofer 0, Pena 0, Uyloan 0.
Quarterscores: 31-23, 60-47, 82-76, 111-98