10 December 2015

Bolts 104, GlobalPort 108

For a fleeting moment it seemed Meralco’s gallant efforts would finally be rewarded.

A bunch of equally gritty GlobalPort players foiled those expectations, combining to pull off a 108-104 victory last 9 December to eliminate the Bolts while moving closer to their immediate target in the Smart Bro-PBA Philippine Cup at Cuneta Astrodome.

Terrence Romeo scored a game-high 33 points and joined hands with backcourt mate Stanley Pringle and Doug Kramer for a big windup that tided the Batang Pier over a Meralco team which tenaciously fought back from the depths of a pair of 24-point third quarter deficits.

The win was the Batang Pier’s third straight, jacking their overall record to 6-3, which is good for fourth-running spot.

“At least ‘yung objective ng team nakuha na namin, na at least nasa 3, 4, 5 spot kami,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio.

The Batang Pier wind up their elimination round assignments against Mahindra on Saturday and TNT next Friday and should they finish among the top six they would enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the first phase of the quarterfinals.

Jarencio said there would be no let-up from his charges. “Going to the playoffs kailangan finish strong kami dito sa elims para may momentum,” he said.

The loss, its fourth straight and ninth in 10 games, took out Meralco from the race for inclusion among the top 10 teams advancing to the next round.

Even if they win their last elims game against Rain or Shine next Wednesday the Bolts would still have only two wins after 11 outings which would tie them with either 2-7 Mahindra or 1-7 Blackwater. Both the Enforcers and Elite have beaten the Bolts, however.

The defeat also marked the fifth time Meralco got beaten by no more than four points in the conference. Like those other defeats, the Bolts put up another brave stand that just fell short.

Going to the game averaging just 5.25 points, Jimmy Alapag unexpectedly flashed his old fiery form by scoring 15 of his team-high 18 points in the fourth period, including back-to-back triples that kept Meralco within 104-105, still 18.5 ticks left.

GlobalPort simply would not be denied, however, with Romeo canning two charities. After Alapag’s missed trey, Jay Washington added another freebie with just 6.3 seconds to go.

Stanley Pringle added 19 points, six rebounds and as many assists for GlobalPort with Washington chipping in 15 markers and a teamhigh nine boards.

Cliff Hodge wound up with 17 points and 10 rebounds with Chris Newsome, Kelly Nabong, Reynel Hugnatan and Bryan Faundo adding at least 11 points each for Meralco.

Alapag’s three charities followed by Hodge’s short stab even gave the Bolts a brief taste of the lead at 96-94, before a three-point play by Kramer, followed by a triple each from Pringle and Romeo pushed GlobalPort back in the driver’s seat 103-96.

The tight ending was far from everybody’s mind when GlobalPort used several scoring bursts to erect a 77-53 bubble. The difference was still 80-56, before Meralco started stirring back to life in the last five minutes of the third period with mostly its second stringers on the court.

Newsome and Hugnatan led an attack that trimmed the deficit down to 14 going to the final frame before Ryan Buenafe, Hodge and Alapag starred in a prolonged assault that kept the Bolts within 91-94.

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