IF there is one player who perfectly fits consultant Rajko Toroman’s motion offense with Barako Bull, Mick Pennisi should be it.
A tough, big defender who can shoot well from the outside, the 6-foot-9 grizzled veteran showed how integral he is to Toroman’s rotation when he dropped 19 points against defending PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion San Mig Coffee in a rousing 105-100 win on Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Pennisi combined with Josh Urbiztondo as the two accounted for nine of the Energy Cola’s 12 three-pointers, leading the team back from as much as a 10-point deficit.
It was Pennisi’s two treys that eventually sparked Barako’s telling 19-3 fourth-quarter run that turned the game around and put the Energy Cola on top to stay, 87-78.
He ended up with 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from downtown and 7-of-8 from the field to help the Energy Cola snap a six-game slide and get back in contention for a playoff berth.
“Mick is a European-type of a player, tall who can shoot the ball from the outside,” said Toroman of the 38-year-old big man, who beat out Meralco’s Macmac Cardona for the Accel-PBA Press Corps Player of the Week honors for the period covering March 25 to 31.
“At the start of the conference he was not playing very well. But lately his game has picked up and that is good for he is a big part of our team, our system,” added the Serbian.
It was only the fourth win in 11 games overall for Barako, and while it stayed at ninth spot, the team is now just a game behind the eighth and last spot for the ensuing quarterfinals berth.
With three more games left in their eliminations, Toroman believes their goal of making the playoffs is very attainable.
“We'll take it one game at a time,” he said. “One more win and we could close in.”