The GlobalPort Batang Pier are finally at .500, after dealing the Barako Bull Energy their second straight loss despite import Solomon Alabi’s monster performance, 99-81, Wednesday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.
Powered by Alabi’s ten early points, Barako Bull took a double-digit lead, 14-4, after five minutes of play. GlobalPort managed to put together a brief rally to come within five, 10-15, but were unable to sustain their momentum as the Energy extended the lead anew. A late five-point burst from Carlo Lastimosa pushed Barako Bull to a 27-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Three straight threes care of Terrence Romeo, Keith Jensen, and Stanley Pringle put Batang Pier within just one, 26-27, with nine and a half minutes left in the second period. A split free throw charity from Romeo shortly after forced a deadlock at 27-all. What followed was a heated trade of baskets between the two squads, with Barako Bull holding on to the steady lead, but unable to pull away once more. But with the score tied 36-all with around four minutes left on the clock, Romeo, GlobalPort’s feared sharpshooter exploded for five straight points to give the Batang Pier the lead, 41-36. Romeo’s heroics were enough to give GlobalPort the narrow lead at the end of the second, 45-44. The halftime stat sheets featured two stellar performances for the first half: Romeo, who had 17 points, and Barako Bull’s Alabi, who had 20.
Alabi and RR Garcia teamed up for four straight points to give Barako Bull back the lead, 48-46, in the opening minutes of the third. But the Batang Pier responded by going on a 13-1 to lead by double digits, 59-49, with less than five minutes left on the clock. Though a resting Romeo went scoreless for the quarter, the Batang Pier managed to stay ahead of the chase, fending off a late Barako Bull rally to take a 66-62 advantage at the end of the period.
With import Calvin Warner taking the scoring reins, the lead stayed with GlobalPort early in the fourth. Alabi’s unceasing heroics were not enough to spark the Energy back to life, and with four minutes left on the clock, they trailed GlobalPort by double digits, 72-82. They suffered another setback when Garcia fouled out with less than two minutes in the game. He had five points prior to picking up his sixth foul. With a minute left to play, the Batang Pier were up by 14, 89-75. With time on their side, a last-minute push by the Energy proved ineffectual, and at the buzzer, it was the Batang Pier who walked away with the W.
Romeo had 23 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists for GlobalPort. Import Warner 23 points and 19 rebounds. Reinforcement Alabi led Barako Bull with a stellar 37 points and 27 rebounds. GlobalPort improves to 3-3, while Barako Bull is at 3-2 after suffering its second straight loss.
Romeo 24, Warner 23, Pringle 14, Isip 14, Buenafe 7, Jensen 7, Miranda 4, Semerad 4, Caperal 2
Alabi 37, Lastimosa 12, Lanete 11, Pascual 6, Garcia 5, Intal 4, Chua 2, Matias 2, Hubalde 2
Quarters: 17-27, 45-44, 66-62, 99-81