Jay Washington vs. Cliff Hodge

by Waylon Galvez

Globalport scored its biggest win yet in its young franchise by pulling off a come-from-behind 91-79 victory against Meralco that kept alive its quarterfinal playoff bid in the PBA Governors’ Cup last night at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Batang Pier rallied from a 20-point deficit in the second period behind the strong plays of import Markeith Cummings, Gary David and ex-Meralco Sol Mercado to snap a three-game losing skid.

Cummings scored 32 points, 15 in the fourth quarter, aside from posting 12 rebounds, while David, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas, scattered 14 of his 21 points in the third period that saw Globalport unleash a big run that got them back into the game going to the fourth quarter.

Mercado, who was dealt by Meralco to Globalport last conference, scored all his 15 points in the second half, including two booming three-pointers that were part of an 18-6 blast that turned a 67-69 deficit to an 85-75 lead with 1:21 left in the game.

The victory improved Globalport’s record to 3-4 for solo seventh place in the standings – half-game behind Alaska (3-3) – while Meralco’s loss forced a four-way tie for second to fifth spots with defending champion Rain or Shine, San Mig Coffee and Barako Bull.

Also, the three wins of Batang Pier already equaled their combined total victories in their first two conferences in the pro league after finishing with a 1-13 record in the Philippine Cup and 2-12 card in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Globalport’s lone victory in the all-Filipino conference also came against Meralco, where it initially recorded its biggest comeback win in the PBA, returning from a 14-point deficit to score a 105-104 win last Oct. 17 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The win came three days after Batang Pier blew an 18-point lead in the third period in a 98-97 defeat the Energy Cola last Sunday, wherein the team had a chance to call a timeout to map out a final play but instead Mercado had no choice but to heave a ‘Hail Mary’ shot at mid-court.

“Ginamit naming motivation ‘yung loss last Sunday,” said Globalport coach Junel Baculi, adding that he had a one-on-one talk to Mercado after that game. “We can’t blame anybody but ourselves. We rise as a team. If we lose, we lose as a team.”

“We have to learn every game we play. I commend Sol, he talked to the team, owned up to his shortcomings (in the last game for not calling a timeout). He did his job well (in this game). Hopefully we can be gate crushers in the quarterfinals,” added Baculi, who also got 10 points and 14 boards from Jay Washington.

A layup by Meralco rookie Cliff Hodge capped a 16-0 blitzkrieg, which turned a 24-20 lead to 40-20 advantage with 5:37 left in the second period. The Bolts were still ahead, 44-28, at halftime break as import Mario West scored 16 first half points.

However, a quick 8-0 run by Globalport – Cummings nailing a trey, David completing a three-point play and Mercado scoring a layup – cut the deficit to 44-36. Another triple by Cummings tied the game, 63-all.

In the main game, the Petron Blaze Boosters romped to their sixth win in seven outing as they routed the Talk ‘n Text Tropang Texters, 122-88.

The scores:
First game:
GlobalPort 91 – Cummings 32, David 21, Mercado 15, Washington 10, Taha 4, Miller 3, Mandani 2, Thiele 2, Salvador 2, Lingganay 0, Alonzo 0.

Meralco 79 – West 22, Hugnatan 19, Wilson 16, Hodge 9, Cardona 7, Reyes 4, Allado 2, Guevarra 0, Ross 0, Timberlake 0, Cortez 0.

Quarters: 13-23, 28-44, 60-63, 91-79

Second game:
Petron 122 – Millsap 25, Cabagnot 20, Lassiter 18, Santos 14, Lanete 13, Fajardo 7, Kramer 6, Hubalde 6, Miranda 4, Ildefonso 4, Tubid 3, Lutz 2, Deutchman 0, Sison 0.

Talk N’ Text 88 – Al-Hussaini 18, Anthony 11, Peek 10, Castro 8, Mitchell 7, Aban 6, De Ocampo 6, Carey 6, Alapag 6, Fonacier 5, Ferriols 4, Aquino 1, Gamalinda 0, Alvarez 0.

Quarters: 35-30, 63-37, 94-63, 122-88