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Batang Pier make Aces fold, cash in second win

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Needing a full quarter to settle in, the GlobalPort Batang Pier used a devastating second quarter rally to rout the undermanned Alaska Aces, 95-73, at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Aces visibly felt the absence of four of their key players- Sonny Thoss, JVee Casio, Vic Manuel, and Calvin Abueva- thus surrendering a double-digit rebounding advantage resulting to a torrent of GlobalPort second chance points.

In what was most likely his last game this conference, GlobalPort import CJ Leslie put up 30 points and 18 boards while former UAAP MVP Terrence Romeo contributed 25 points off hot three-point shooting.

The Aces zipped the ball around their half of the court to find shooters to begin the game while Leslie decided to get himself going first, taking the bulk of GlobalPort’s shots. Leslie scored seven of the Batang Pier’s first 10 points while DJ Covington and Gabby Espinas combined for nine points to give Alaska an early 13-10 lead. Romeo drained a corner three to tie the game, but RJ Jazul quickly answered with a trey of his own followed by an Erik Menk free throw-line jumper to keep Alaska ahead. Back-to-back treys from Dondon Hontiveros to end the quarter pushed Alaska to a 27-18 lead.

Number one overall pick Stanley Pringle headlined a 12-0 run for GlobalPort to kick-off the second frame. Pringle scored six points in the run highlighted by diving layup off a Leslie assist. The Aces scored only eight points in the period off only two field goals, allowing GlobalPort to take a 44-35 advantage heading into the third period.

Leslie continued to overwhelm the Alaska defense in the third period, scoring 11 points with his daredevil drives to the hoop. Covington tried valiantly to keep the Aces afloat, scoring six points in the period, highlighted by a baseline dunk that almost broke the rim. With their guards complimenting the outstanding play of their import, GlobalPort took a 66-54 lead into the final frame.

Veteran swingman Ronjay Buenafe lit the fuse on GlobalPort’s impending blowout victory, scoring five points, dishing an assist and grabbing a steal early in the fourth period to extend the Batang Pier lead to 75-58. Romeo did his best Steph Curry impersonation late in the period, drilling four consecutive threes to put the game out of reach.

The win evens the slate of GlobalPort at 2-2, tied for sixth with the Elasto Painters while the Aces drop to 1-3.

The scores:

GlobalPort 95 – Leslie 30, Romeo 25, Pringle 12, Isip 6, Buenafe 5, Jensen 5, Semerad 4, Nabong 4, Ponferrada 4, Miranda 0, Taha 0, Caperal 0, Pinto 0, Baclao 0

Alaska 73 – Covington 25, Hontiveros 11, Dela Cruz 7, Baguio 6, Espinas 6, Jazul 5, Exciminiano 4, Menk 4, Dela Rosa 3, Eman 2, Banchero 0, Vanlangdingham 0

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Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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