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Globalport withstands Never-Say-Die Ginebra, moves on to franchise-first semifinals



Facing hungry veterans and a rowdy opposing crowd, the up-and-coming Globalport Batang Pier showed the wares of their continued maturation, eliminating the Barangay Ginebra Kings in a wild 84-83 decision late Sunday night at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The game started out as billed; Globalport’s vaunted backcourt duo worked isolations to find points while Ginebra relied on their twin towers to counter. Stanley Pringle and Terrence Romeo hit beautiful off-the-dribble triples on back-to-back possessions to highlight an 8-3 Batang Pier run that gave them an 18-12 lead with three minutes left in the opening quarter.
Globalport, however, failed to produce another basket for the quarter while Greg Slaughter earned two second chance baskets in the last two minutes to pull the Barangay to within two, 16-18, heading into the second canto.

With the Gin Kings taking the lead early in the second quarter, 21-20, off jumpers from Joe Devance and Sol Mercado, Romeo essayed a solo 5-0 run capped by a signature stepback triple in front of two defenders to keep the Batang Pier ahead, 25-21. Slaughter then continued to plug away at Globalport’s smaller frontline, converting consecutive post-up attempts for a 27-all tie. With 2:26 left in the half, one half of Ginebra’s twin towers, Japeth Aguilar ended a miserable first two quarters, incurring his fourth foul, forcing Tim Cone to bench the former Ateneo Blue Eagle after scoring just two points. But the Batangpier could not pull away as Mark Caguioa earned his first five points in the half’s final minute to trim a four-point Globalport lead down to one, 32-33.

Ginebra Point Guard and National Team veteran, LA Tenorio got his team going at the start of the third quarter, finding Devance and Caguiao for easy layups that put Ginebra up 34-33. Pringle responded with five-point blitz before both teams’ offense momentarily stalled. Tenorio and Slaughter found points from the charity stripe for 44-41 Ginebra lead with four minutes remaining. Former La Salle Green Archer, Joseph Yeo joined Romeo in a late scoring spree that kept the game close. The pair combined for Batang Pier’s final 12 points of the third period and salvaged a 53-all tie heading into the final quarter.

A sharp offensive exchange to kick off the payoff period ended with Ginebra ahead, 61-60. With his team struggling to find baskets, Stanley Pringle broke away on consecutive possessions and scored on layups that buoyed Batang Pier ahead 69-64 with five minutes left. As he did in the Christmas Classico, LA Tenorio came up with huge plays in the endgame, sparking the Never-Say-Die Gin Kings. Tenorio drilled a triple, found Slaughter who was hacked then made two free throws, before nailing another trifecta, putting Ginebra up 72-69 with less than two minutes remaining. After a timeout, Yeo drove to the basket for a layup, trimming the Ginebra lead down to one 71-72. After trading bricks and turnovers, Slaughter and Pringle both split charities, 72-73, with less than a minute remaining. After snaring an offensive rebound with 11 ticks to go, Tenorio after being fouled but missed one of his charities, snaring up the Pringle-Billy Mamaril pick-and-roll connection that tied the game at 74. With four seconds remaining, Tenorio broke away from a double team and pulled up from three only to have Mamaril stuff his potential game winner from behind, prompting overtime.

Romeo and Pringle broke the extra session silence- the former hitting a triple and the latter breaking away for a transition bucket, vaulting Globalport ahead, 79-74. After Slaughter hit two free throws, Romeo found an open Jay Washington for a corner triple, giving Globalport an 82-76 lead. The veteran Gin Kings tried to climb out of the hole but the young Batangpier were geared up for the semifinals. Tenorio drained another clutch triple then found Aguilar underneath who was hacked and made one of two free throws, leaving 1:15 on the clock and two point Globalport lead, 82-80. Rushing to the other end of the court, Pringle caught a back-pedaling Greg Slaughter off guard, and hit a floater that kept his team up 84-80. Climbing over two Globalport players, Aguilar grabbed a crucial offensive rebound but again made just one of two free throws with 41 seconds left. After getting a huge stop, Ginebra successfully executed a quick-two play that further cut into the Batang Pier lead, 83-84, but had just eight seconds left. Following a timeout, Globalport inbounded to Pringle who held the ball, waiting to be fouled. Trying to force a turnover, Ginebra did not, however, hack the FilAm guard who proceeded to pivot between two defenders, dangerously tip-toeing the halfcourt line. Pringle successfully held the ball for the last eight seconds without the referees calling a violation, prompting the ire of the entire Ginebra coaching staff and management.

Since the referees made no calls in the last play, the review and violation Ginebra yearned could not be called, keeping them searching for an elusive title.

Player of the Game Stanley Pringle was proud of the team effort the team displayed in battling the imposing Ginebra frontline. “Our whole team played together and we wanted it,” he said. “We really wanted to win.”

When asked about the controversy that arose after the game, Pringle believes that the officials have the right to review it but ultimately made the right decision. “It was a close game and they reviewed it. I think they made the right choice and we won the game,” he remarked about the incident.

According to PBA officials, Barangay Ginebra has until 12:00nn tomorrow, December 28 if they are going to file a complaint about the late game non-call.

The Slash Brothers combined for 48 huge points with Pringle scoring 25 and Romeo adding 23. Pringle was an excellent 10/18 from the field and was able to grab eight boards. On the other hand, Romeo was just 33% from the field but was able to knock down five triples. Jay Washington added 12 points off the bench.

Ginebra was led by the huge double-double by Greg Slaughter. Slaughter tallied 25 points on an excellent 9/11 shooting clip and grabbed 18 boards. LA Tenorio had 18 points but was just 5/14 from the field while Joe Devance added 12 markers.

Globalport shot just 37% from the field compared to Ginebra’s 40% and were also outrebounded 62-49. Fortunately for the Batang Pier, they were able to force Ginebra to 21 turnovers and were able to knock down three more triples compared to their opponents that proved to be the difference.

Globalport Batang Pier moves on to the semifinals of the 2015-16 PBA Smart Bro Philippine Cup Tournament to face the Alaska Aces. “We need to stay together as a team, review some tape, and, first and foremost, get some rest,” Pringle closed when asked about the match-up against the Aces.

The Scores:
Globalport (84) – Pringle 25, Romeo 23, Washington 13, Yeo 11, Mamaril 4, Semrad 3, Kramer 3, Jensen 2, Maierhofer 0, Pena 0, Sumang 0.
Ginebra (83) – Slaughter 25, Tenorio 18, Devance 12, Caguioa 9, Mercado 9, Aguilar 6, Cruz 4, Ellis 0, Thompson 0, Marcelo 0.
Quarterscores: 18-16, 33-32, 53-53, 74-74, 84-83

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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.