MARK Caguioa had the last laugh in his first PBA duel with Globalport rookie Terrence Romeo, firing 14 of Barangay Ginebra’s last 18 points to help the Gin Kings escape with a 109-103 win in their PLDT myDSL-Philippine Cup match on Thursday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Caguioa lived up to his nickname 'Spark' as he triggered Ginebra’s blazing endgame finish, shooting two big three-pointers including the go-ahead trey in the face of Romeo that preserved the Gin Kings’ third win in as many starts this season.
The win shoved Ginebra into a share of the lead with sister team Petron at the top of the standings and bolstered the Gin Kings' growing stature as the top favorite in the season-opening tournament.
“They (Batang Pier) adjusted, sa second half when they pressured us. Iyun, medyo na-rattle mga players, kaya di sila tumatawag ng plays,” said Ginebra coach Ato Agustin after the game.
“Pero di naman nawalan ng poise ang mga players kahit lumamang sila.”
Caguioa recalled his best form just when Romeo, playing in just his third game as a pro, started to take over. He finished with 29 points to Romeo's 27 in a game that turned into a personal shootout between a former MVP and the most impressive rookie so far this season.
After scoring a quiet five points during the first half, Romeo exploded in the second half to lead GlobalPort back from the depths of a 21-point deficit.
The reigning UAAP MVP, who scored a career-high 34 points in Globalport’s 114-100 win over Air21 last weekend, engineered Globalport’s huge 27-point outburst during the first eight minutes of the final period which enabled the Batang Pier to grab the lead at 93-91.
Romeo’s driving layup off Caguioa’s defense appeared to awaken the Ginebra star who after a Ginebra timeout, the Gin King guard just basically took over the game.
They Said It!
"Malaki pa rin ang role ni Mark. Siya na nag-take over. Siyempre, pag mainit naman talaga, on the go ang player, sige lang and he (Caguioa) responded lang talaga.” - Ginebra coach Ato Agustin
said Agustin, whose team led by 21 points late in the third period.
Caguioa finished with 29 points on an eight-of-13 shooting, outdueling Romeo who finished with 27 on an efficient 11-of-16 field goal shooting.
Jay Washington added 23, while RR Garcia, another first round pick of Globalport, scored a personal career-best 20 points.
Ginebra 109 - Caguioa 29, Aguilar 18, Slaughter 17, Tenorio 15, Helterbrand 11, Ellis 6, Monfort 6, Ababou 3, Reyes 2, Urbiztondo 2, Baracael 0, Mamaril 0, Forrester 0.
GlobalPort 104 - Romeo 27, Washington 23, Garcia 20, Hayes 10, Mercado 10, Chua 8, Lingganay 3, Belencion 2, Salvador 1, Menk 0, Ponferrada 0, Najorda 0.
Quarters: 28-17, 56-38, 83-66, 109-104