IMPORT Elijah Millsap led a whirlwind second-half attack in a 112-86 blowout of listless Air21 that gave Petron the solo lead in the PBA Governors' Cup on Wednesday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The 26-year-old brother of NBA player Paul Millsap personally took over the game by scoring 13 of the Boosters’ first 17 points to open the third period, allowing the team to rip the game apart with a 66-44 advantage.
The local players took over from there as the Boosters stretched the lead to as much as 112-79 on a fastbreak layup by rookie big man June Mar Fajardo.
It was the third straight win for Petron after an opening loss.
Millsap finished the game with 27 point and 12 rebounds in a superlative performance that earned him some nice words from coach Gee Abanilla.
“Millsap is a silent workhorse. He’s providing leadership for us,” said the rookie mentor.
“We’re very happy about this win. I think this gives us a chance to be at the upper bracket, because in a short conference like this, every win counts,” added Abanilla.
On the other hand, Air21 slumped to a 1-3 (win-loss) record after losing its second straight game amid talk of a looming trade involving big man Nelbert Omolon and Petron’s Joseph Yeo.
Yeo, buried at the tail-end of Petron’s deep bench, didn’t see action for the Boosters until the early part of the fourth period when the outcome of the match was well beyond doubt.
The 6-foot-1 guard, who used to play under Air21 coach Franz Pumaren at La Salle, finished the game with nine points in what could probably be his final game with the Boosters should the trade with the Express materialize late this week.
Abanilla said he has yet to be informed of the trade involving Yeo, so he just went on with the usual business of preparing the team.
“Wala pa akong alam tungkol diyan,” he stressed.
Petron (112) - Millsap 27, Fajardo 17, Lassiter 13, Cabagnot 13, Santos 12, Lutz 10, Yeo 9, Lanete 8, Miranda 3, Deutchman 0, Kramer 0, Tubid 0.
Air 21 (86) - Graham 19, Canaleta 16, Omolon 10, Cortez 8, Manuel 6, Custodio 6, Sharma 6, Arboleda 5, Ritualo 4, Atkins 2, Sena 2, Isip 2, Menor 0.
Quarterscores: 24-22; 49-38; 82-60; 112-86.