GLOBALPORT turned to Terrence Romeo in the clutch to frustrate Meralco, 108-104, and eliminate the Bolts from contention in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at the Cuneta Astrodome.
Romeo scattered 12 of his game-high 33 points in the payoff period to spare the Batang Pier the blushes after squandering a 24-point lead.
That spoiled the vintage performance of Jimmy Alapag, who fired 15 points, built around four three-pointers, in the fourth to lead a comeback from an 80-56 deficit that fell just short.
His timely offensive explosion came on the same day he moved into the Top Five of the all-time assists leaders, surpassing Willie Generalao.
“That showed the true character of the team na hindi bibitaw kahit yung momentum napunta sa Meralco,” Batang Pier coach Pido Jarencio said. “ Actually, Meralco is a good team, hindi lang nila nakukuha yung chemistry pa eh.”
The quarterfinals-bound Batang Pier thus stretched their winning streak to three games to improve to a 6-3 win-loss record overall, while handing the Bolts their ninth loss in 10 games.
For a while, though, the Batang Pier looked headed for a blowout victory that would strengthen their bid for a twice-to-beat edge in the playoffs’ first round when they erected that 80-56 cushion midway through the third quarter.
But the Bolts, with their playoff hopes hanging by a thread, refused to go down without a fight, embarking on a run that saw them erase the deficit and even take the lead momentarily at 96-94 after a Cliff Hodge layup with three minutes and 46 seconds to go.
That, however, was short-lived as Romeo rescued GlobalPort with his back-breaking triples.
Stanley Pringle and Jay Washington provided support to Romeo, tallying 19 and 15 points, respectively.
GlobalPort 108 - Romeo 33, Pringle 19, Washington 15, Mamaril 8, Yeo 8, Jensen 7, Kramer 7, Maierhofer 6, Sumang 3, Semerad 2.
Meralco 104 - Alapag 18, Hodge 17, Nabong 13, Hugnatan 12, Faundo 11, Newsome 10, David 8, Buenafe 7, Dillinger 4, Amer 3, Caram 1, Al-Hussaini 0.
Quarterscores: 26-22, 55-44, 87-73, 108-104