Romeo torches Alaska as Globalport draws first blood in PBA semis
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Terrence Romeo got loose in the opening minutes and the Globalport Batang Pier never looked back on their way to a dominant 107-93 win over the Alaska Aces to draw first blood in the 2016 PBA Philippine Cup best-of-7 semifinals on Monday, January 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Romeo tallied 22 points at halftime and went on to finish with a career-high 41 points, making 6 of his 11 3-pointers. He also had two rebounds, 4 assists, and two steals but also 8 turnovers in close to 40 minutes.
"(I just told him to) play his usual game. I have full confidence in Terrence," head coach Pido Jarencio said of his third year guard picked 5th overall in the 2013 draft.
The former UAAP MVP was all over the floor for Jarencio, blowing past every defender Alaska threw at him for a career game to remember.
Romeo's brilliance sparked the Batang Pier early and they zoomed to a 24-6 advantage in the opening frame. They never let up on the gas pedal and the Aces never got past the 6-point hump.
Romeo, the 23-year-old Gilas Pilipinas hotshot, put the exclamation point on his epic performance during his first PBA semifinals appearance with the dagger 3-pointer to stretch a 9-point lead to 103-91 with 43.6 seconds left in the game.
The former FEU Tamaraw finished his impressive showing with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to improve his statistical points and move up from 7th to 5th place in the Best Player of the Conference race, according to PBA statistician Fidel Mangonon III.
"We just played our usual game. That's our average output (107 points)," Jarencio noted as the Aces' usually airtight defense seemed a step slow Monday night.
"Alaska is one of the best defensive teams, they shut their opponents to below 80 points, but this is our night because the players were really aggressive. They really wanted to win game 1. It's crucial when you win game 1 because you gain momentum."
Stanley Pringle contributed 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and a block while Keith Jensen and Billy Mamaril had 12 points apiece. Mamaril added 7 boards, 4 dimes, 3 steals, and a block.
While the players celebrated inside the locker room, Jarencio knows the series is far from over.
"We all know Alaska is a tough team. This is going to be a long series for sure," he said. "We need to be consistent the entire game. We can't be strong in the first quarter and in the second our tempo will decrease."
Cyrus Baguio led Alaska with 15 points while Vic Manuel had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
RJ Jazul finished with 14 markers as well to go with 6 boards and 3 assists, as Sonny Thoss likewise had a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Calvin Abueva added 12 points and 6 rebounds off the bench for the top seeded Aces, who skipped the quarterfinals and did not play for about two weeks.
Game 2 of the series is on Wednesday, January 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. (SCHEDULE: 2016 PBA Philippine Cup semifinals)
Globalport (107): Romeo 41, Pringle 14, Jensen 12, Mamaril 12, Kramer 6, Semerad 6, Washington 6, Yeo 5, Maierhofer 4, Sumang 1, Pena 0.
Alaska (93): Baguio 15, Jazul 14, Manuel 14, Abueva 12, Thoss 12, Banchero 8, Menk 8, Casio 5, Hontiveros 3, Baclao 2, Dela Cruz 0, Dela Rosa 0, Exciminiano 0.
Quarter scores: 29-18, 52-42, 82-74, 107-93.
#PBA Coach Pido Jarencio interview after Globalport's win over Alaska
#PBA Coach Pido Jarencio interview after Globalport's win over AlaskaPosted by Jane Yvette Bracher on Monday, 4 January 2016