GLOBALPORT found an unlikely hero in rookie Anthony Semerad, who scored six crucial points during the final three minutes to lift the undermanned Batang Pier to an 84-79 win over KIA Motors in their PBA Philippine Cup match on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Batang Pier trailed for three quarters while playing without ailing veteran guard Alex Cabagnot but hit their stride just in time behind Ronjay Buenafe, Mark Isip, Fil-Am guard Stanley Pringle and fellow rookie Semerad.
The 6-foot-4 Semerad, the 2014 NCAA Finals MVP, scored four free throws and a looping jump shot when GlobalPort made the late charge to open a 80-74 lead and seal its second win of the season.
The late charge enabled the Batang Pier to match their two-win total in two conferences under coach Pido Jarencio last season.
“Alam ko darating din iyan (win) sa mga bata eh, especially yung two losses namin, eh for me, it’s not about the character of the team kundi breaks of the game lang yun. Siyempre, magde-decide ng game mga players eh,” said Jarencio.
Jarencio admitted punching the white board inside the team’s dugout at halftime due to the Batang Pier’s lackadaisical first half that saw them trail, 36-47 at the turn.
“Medyo masakit lang kamay ko ngayon, kasi white board nila (Araneta Coliseum) eh, pero hihintayin ko na lang bill nila,” the former University of Santo Tomas coach added in jest.
Jarencio said Cabagnot skipped Monday’s practice due to a throat infection while big man Noy Baclao played just five minutes because he was under the weather as well.
Without two of his key players, Jarencio dug deep into his bench.
Semerad, the outgoing San Beda Red Lion, fired 12 points and grabbed four rebounds to provide the much-needed spark off the bench.
The Fil-Australian rookie also engaged KIA’s rugged forward Chad Alonzo in a scuffle late in the period. Alonzo and Anthony were eventually slapped with a technical foul each.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial, however, said Alonzo and Anthony might be summoned by league commissioner Chito Salud later this week for their scuffle.
Buenafe led the Batang Pier with 19 points, spiked by four three-pointers. Pringle added 13, eight rebounds and six assists while Isip chipped in 10 and six rebounds.
Hans Thiele led the Sorento (1-3) with 19 points and eight rebounds, Reil Cervantes had 15, while Alvin Padilla had 11.
GlobalPort 84 - Buenafe 19; Pringle 13; Semerad 12; Isip 10; De Ocampo 8, Ponferada 6, Jensen 5, Pinto 4, Taha 3, Romeo 2; Baclao 2, Nabong 0.
Kia 79 - Thiele 19; Cervantes 15, Padilla 11, Jaime 9, Buensuceso 7, Raymundo 7, Alvarez 4, Dehesa 4, Lingganay 3, Revilla 0, Alonzo 0.
Quarterscores: 13-19; 36-47; 62-61; 84-79