Terrence Romeo knocked down the go-ahead triple and GlobalPort extended Alaska’s woes with a come-from-behind 107-106 victory in their knockout encounter for the last quarterfinal seat in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Romeo’s triple, his fifth in the game, at the top of the key over Kevin Racal put Batang Pier back in the lead, 106-104, with 8.1 seconds left and Calvin Abueva missed the potential game-tying basket in the next play as the Aces absorbed their eighth straight loss to bomb out of the competition.
“I guess we surprised a lot of people. Nobody expected us to be in the finals,” said GlobalPort head coach Franz Pumaren. “The game tonight was a testament that the boys really wanted to win this game.”
“We have to give credit to the guy (Romeo) He is really determined to take the shot,” he added.
Justin Harper led GlobalPort with 32 points and 17 rebounds while Romeo added 26 markers, highlighted by five triples, to lead the march of Batang Pier to the quarterfinal round and face top seed Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on Tuesday.
The win also spoiled Abueva’s spectacular performance as the Alaska forward tallied a conference-high 31 points and grabbed 13 boards.
Cory Jefferson had 32 markers and 16 rebounds for the Aces, who started the tournament with a 4-0 win-loss mark but fumbled in their next seven games and got relegated in the playoff for the No. 8 spot with Batang Pier.
They were poised on ending the slump on Sunday after Abueva and Jefferson joined forced to give Alaska a 97-92 cushion with 5:38 remaining.
But GlobalPort came back in the game behind the hot shooting of Terrence Romeo at the rainbow territory.
He had two triples in Batang Pier’s 9-3 assault to reclaim the lead at 101-100 but a defensive lapse allowed Alaska guard Chris Banchero to score on a layup, 102-101, with 2:01 remaining.
Ping Excimiano had to chance to increase Alaska’s lead but muffed an open drive and Stanley Pringle sank two free throws for a 103-102 lead for Batang Pier.
Abueva scored on a banked shot to take the lead back, 104-103, but Romeo responded with a huge three-pointer, 106-104, to take the lead for good and the right to face the twice-to-beat Gin Kings in the quarters.
“It will be a tough series for us. I hope we sustain the run,” said Pumaren. JOSEF RAMOS
GLOBALPORT 107 – Harper 32, Romeo 26, Pringle 21, Guinto 8, Cortez 6, Pessumal 5, Anthony 5, Grey 3, Maierhofer 1, Mamaril 0, Forrester 0, Paredes 0, Pennisi 0.
ALASKA 106 – Jefferson 32, Abueva 31, Banchero 16, Manuel 9, Exciminiano 8, Racal 3, Enciso 3, Galliguez 2, Cruz 2, Thoss 0, Pascual 0, Hontiveros 0, Dela Cruz 0.