MANILA, Philippines - The Globalport Batang Pier finally achieved their first 3-game winning streak in its young franchise history, riding on the hot hands of Sol Mercado and Terrence Romeo as they bested the slumping Alaska Aces, 94-84, in the PLDT myDSL Philippine Cup on Friday, December 13 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
The match started off with a shootout between Romeo and Jayvee Casio. Romeo snapped out of his personal shooting slump, coming hot out the gate and registering 13 points in the opening canto. While Casio countered with his own sweet shooting to clock an early 10 points.
Mercado then promptly joined the scoring binge for Globalport, adding 20 points in the first 24 minutes. He eventually finished with 26 points and 4 assists.
Romeo and Mercado's quick explosion paved the way for a double-digit, 47-32, lead late in the second, which eventually rose to a 55-35 advantage at the break.
Things slowed down a little in the first 12 minutes of the second half as Alaska quietly chipped away at the lead, cutting it down to 13, 68-55, with over 3 minutes left in the third.
RR Garcia, however, made 6 straight points on a trey and an and-one play, pushing Globalport's advantage back up to 20, 55-75. A no-look reverse lay-up by Mark Yee, who finished with 10 markers, capped off the third period, 77-58, favoring Globalport.
The Aces came close once again early in the payoff period thanks to the solid shooting from rainbow country of rookie Chris Exciminiano, 68-79. But Alaska's defense could not hold the offense of Batang Pier.
It also hurt them on the other end as they were outrebounded, 49-43.
For every stretch where Alaska would come close, the Batang Pier orchestrated an emphatic answer. It was a testament to how much the Batang Pier's character has grown.
Head coach Ritchie Ticzon credits this to Globalport's defense.
"We emphasized the defensive end. We executed very well defensively and that set the tone for us to dictate the game," he explained.
He also added that they are not letting the win streak get into their heads. Though he admits he hopes it will only continue to extend.
"We just take it one game at a time. We're not even counting the streaks, all we care about is to be together and just play hard every game," he said. "Hopefully the wins will come. Sana humaba-haba pa yung streak." (I hope the streak extends.)
RJ Jazul attempted a last ditch effort with 20.9 seconds remaining via a trey that finally cut the lead to single digits, 84-92. But Globalport's early blitz was too much to overcome for the Aces as their opponent simply held on to the leather and made their freebies on their way to another character-building win.
Jazul had 10 points while Casio and Sonny Thoss finished with 28 and 13, respectively.
GlobalPort (94) - Mercado 26, Romeo 21, Washington 13, Garcia 13, Yee 10, Chua 3, Hayes 3, Lingganay 2, Nabong 2, Menk 1, Salva 0, Salvador 0.
Alaska (84) - Casio 28, Thoss 13, Jazul 10, Espinas 9, Baguio 8, Ramos 7, Exciminiano 6, Buenafe 3, Belasco 0, Dela Cruz 0, Hontiveros 0, Eman 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 55-35, 77-58, 94-84
- with reports from Jane Bracher/Rappler.com