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Garcia heats up late to lift Barako Bull over Mahindra



In the first game of a rare PBA Tuesday held at the Alonte Sports Complex in Biñan, Laguna, the Barako Bull Energy Cola notched their first win of the season at the expense of the Mahindra Enforcers, 93-85.

The Energy Cola and the Enforcers played a close affair, which featured five early lead changes in the opening frame. The game was knotted at 16-all before Barako closed the first quarter on a 6-2 mini-run through free throws by LA Revilla and a triple by Denok Miranda.

The bench players rallied Energy Cola to help them maintain their lead, as five fast points by Josh Urbiztondo gave his squad a 29-25 edge. However, Energy incurred the penalty situation with 7-minute mark of the second period. This led to five free throws in the middle of the quarter that gave Mahindra a brief hold of the lead. Afterwards, Barako responded with a 16-7 closeout to the first half, including triples by JC Intal and Mick Pennisi.

Energy’s balanced offense gave them their first double-digit lead of the match by the 8:40 mark of the third, 56-46. During the stretch, Barako countered Mahindra’s attempts at transition plays and another three-ball by the veteran Pennisi. Free throw hits by Mahindra sliced the lead to its lowest of the quarter at five. However, Baracael hit form at the tail-end of the period, scoring seven of his team’s last nine points to retain a 10-pt cushion heading into the fourth.

Barako lost the fourth period, scoring-wise, by two points, as the quarter went back-and-forth, favoring the Energy Cola. Former FEU guard RR Garcia tallied 15 points for his squad that anchored his team’s response to the Enforcers’ mini-rallies. For the entire fourth period, Barako maintained their comfortable cushion, while Mahindra struggled to put up successive baskets for a comeback.

RR Garcia had an excellent outing, scoring 26 points on a very efficient 10/14 shooting from the field. He was also able to grab three boards and dish out three dimes. JC Intal added 20 markers, while Willie Wilson notched a double-double with 11 points and 13 boards. All three played 40-plus minutes in the game as well.

For the Enforcers, only two cagers scored in double-figures. Mark Yee, coming off the bench, put up a huge double-double with 17 points and 20 boards, 12 coming from the offensive end. Yee was also able to block two Barako Bull shot attempts as well. LA Revilla tallied 12 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the loss.

As a team, the Red-and-Black shot 40% from the field compared to 36% by the Enforcers. Moreover, Barako were able to convert 12 triples in the game, nine more than their opponents – Barako Bull attempted 43 shots from downtown.

Barako Bull will next face the San Miguel Beermen while Mahindra square up against the Barangay Ginebra Kings. Both games will be played at 3pm and 5:15pm respectively on November 22 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Scores:
Barako Bull (93) – Garcia 26, Intal 20, Wilson 11, Baracael 9, Pennisi 6, Monfort 5, Lanete 4, Miranda 3, Urbiztondo 3, Andrada 2, Caperal 2, Sorongon 2, Fortuna 0.
Mahindra (85) – Yee 17, Revilla 14, Jaime 9, Dehesa 7, Hubalde 6, Pascual 6, Ramos 6, Webb 6, Canaleta 5, Guinto 4, Alvarez 2, Laure 2, Bagatsing 1, Pinto 0.
Quarterscores: 22-18, 48-41, 69-59, 93-85