09 December 2013

Bolts 89, Globalport 93

Sol Mercado
Sol Mercado and Jay Washington took the role of leaders for a young Globalport team which came to the season with a lot of changes. Coaching change, lots of rookies coming into the team, you name it, the Batang Pier did it.

With a lot of flak coming their way in terms of how the team will mesh on the court, Batang Pier stumbled to a 1-3 record through their first four games, with the only silver lining coming from Terrence Romeo’s sensational scoring sprees.

But team owner Mikee Romero knew that something had to be done. After their loss to Talk ‘N Text, he called the coaching staff back to their locker room and demanded change.

And what better way to respond to the team owner’s challenge than a win three days after, a 93-89 victory over Meralco to snap their two-game losing skid Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in the PLDT MyDSL-PBA Philippine Cup with Mercado and Washington leading the way for the Batang Pier.

Mercado torched the Bolts with a complete game of 33 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, while Washington was steady from down low, scoring 27 markers, and 10 boards for Globalport, which won its second game in five outings.

Both were season-high outputs for Mercado and Washington.

"We made a conscious effort to play selfless today and to play defense," said Mercado, who came off the bench but still played 37 minutes on the floor to record his third highest output in the PBA.

Globalport coach Ritchie Ticzon lauded Mercado in his adaptation to the new system, which placed the Biola University alumnus from point guard to an off-guard.

"It really worked well with us,” Ticzon said. “He’s becoming more and more comfortable with the system that we are running.

"We were able to execute our defensive game-plan and we were able to make stops especially with their shooters," he added.

Ticzon said that the two losses Globalport incurred against Barangay Ginebra and Talk 'N Text were in some sorts an awakening for them, given that it even prompted the team owner to call the meeting to remind the team their goals in the league.

"The boys really played their hearts out. It was all about effort and our commitment to our team," he said.

Sixth overall pick RR Garcia added 12 points for the Batang Pier, and even hit a three-pointer from the left wing to put Globalport ahead, 87-82, with 1:05 to play in the payoff period.

"Everybody knows he has it naman eh," Ticzon said of Garcia. “That was the reason why he was there in the endgame.”

The Batang Pier, who have already surpassed their one-win total in this very same conference last season in their pro league debut, clawed their way back in the third quarter 66-64, after falling behind 37-46 at the half. Their defense was a big part of that fightback that in the end game, Globalport outrebounded the Bolts, 52-37.

"Our concentration was to play tough defense," Ticzon said.

"We know that we have scorers but we have to put emphasis on our defense, and tonight, we were able to do just that."

Gary David and Mike Cortez paced the Bolts with 18 points and five rebounds apiece in the losing effort, which saw their two-game winning run come to an end.

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