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GlobalPort draws first blood behind Romeo’s career-high

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Terrence Romeo steals the show once more.

Having finished the elimination phase of the PBA Philippine Cup at fifth, the GlobalPort Batang Pier took Game One of the best-of-seven semi-final series against the first-seeded Alaska Aces, 107-93, held at the SM Mall of Asia Monday evening.

GlobalPort surged ahead first to open final four action, as their fast-paced tempo led to an quick 14-2 start. Their defense also limited the Aces, who only made their first field goal after five minutes of shooting blanks.

Terrence Romeo was flawless in the first quarter, scoring 13 points on a perfect 4/4 clip to anchor the Batang Pier. On the other hand, Alaska struggled with their offense in the interior, but managed to erase an 18-point hole with a 10-3 closeout.

Despite committing a disappointing number of turnovers, Alaska managed to hang on with the help of their energetic second unit. Halfway through the second, Alaska sliced the lead down to three, 32-29, by extending their run with an 11-3 spurt.

The Batang Pier responded with their running game that led to rally-extinguishing layups. Chris Banchero and RJ Jazul led Alaska’s bench attack in the quarter, but Anthony Semerad scored five straight points late in the first half to restore GlobalPort’s advantage. At the break, GlobalPort reinstalled a double-digit lead, 52-42, capped by a Terrence Romeo putback off a free throw miss with 0.03 left.

Just like the first half, GlobalPort once again sizzled to a 10-2 blast powered by back-to-back threes by Romeo. The Aces had a tough time keeping in step with the Batang Pier backcourt, as the guards continued with their high-octane offense. However, an 8-0 mini-counter in the middle of the period by Alaska slowly shifted the momentum in their favor, as they once again cut the lead down to single digits entering the final period of play.

Billy Mamaril played huge down the stretch, scoring eight of his twelve points in the final frame. GlobalPort maintained the double-digit advantage, while Alaska struggled accumulating successive baskets. Alaska made it interesting with a couple of stops late, plus Dondon Hontiveros hitting a three. Unfortunately, Romeo banked in a three-ball to seal the deal.

Romeo stole the show in his first semifinal game with a brand new career-high of 41 points, on 12/21 shooting, six triples and two steals. Pringle added 14 markers and six rebounds.

After the game, Globalport head coach Pido Jarencio stated his belief that Alaska will come back stronger come Game Two. “Alaska is a strong team. This is going to be a long series for sure. We just played our game. Tonight was just our night,” Jarencio shared.

A sharp-shooter during his playing days, Jarencio commended the career-high statistics of his star player Terrence Romeo. He also praised the entire team, saying, “I just want Terrence to play his usual game. Full of confidence ako kay Terrence. Actually, sa buong team,” he added.

For Romeo, the most important thing was getting the win. “Hindi na mahalaga kung career-high or what. Importante lang yung panalo,” Romeo said. He then added that this is just Game One and they should continue to stick to the game plan in order for them to win this series.

“Tingin ko hindi pa puwede masabi dahil Game One pa lang ito. Maaga pa at mahaba pa ito. Sana lang maging consistent kami at sundan lang yung gameplan,” the quiet assassin closed.

For the Aces, they had 51 points from their bench, as Vic Manuel and RJ Jazul scored 14 points each. Baguio led the team’s scoring with 15 markers, including a 6/6 clip from inside the arc.

GlobalPort ended the game with a plus 18 scoring from three point territory. Additionally, they had more points off turnovers, 16-10 and shot 74% from the foul stripe, compared to Alaska’s 54%.

Game Two is set to played on Wednesday, January 6 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Scores:
GlobalPort (107) – Romeo 41, Pringle 14, Mamaril 12, Jensen 12, Kramer 6, Semerad 6, Washington 6, Yeo 5, Maierhofer 4, Sumang 1, Pena 0
Alaska (93) – Baguio 15, Manuel 14, Jazul 14, Abueva 12, Thoss 12, Menk 8, Banchero 8, Hontiveros 3, Baclao 2, Exciminiano 0, Dela Rosa 0
Quarterscores: 29-18, 52-42, 82-74, 107-93

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