Terrence Romeo performed like he was better than anyone else, but the Mahindra Enforcers were the better team in a 111-98 victory Friday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Different contributors sparked a balanced effort from the Enforcers all-game long, as the team fended off a 41-point explosion from Romeo which tied the Batang Pier guard’s career-high.
Mahindra came out on fire in the first half, making nine triples on a 50-percent clip. KG Canaleta poured 20 points in the first two quarters alone, helping the Enforcers build a 60-47 lead.
But Romeo tried to turn things around in the second half as he fired 14 points in the first few minutes of the third quarter, including a basket that pulled Globalport to within 61-62.
LA Revilla however, scored six points of his own, while a Mike DiGregorio three made it 82-76 for Mahindra entering the final period.
DiGregorio and Augustus Gilchrist then combined for eight points in a stretch that saw the Enforcers extend their lead to 90-78, although Romeo and Stanley Pringle out up a run of their own to cut the lead down to 92-89.
But that was when Mark Yee and Karl Dehesa closed the game, combining for 11 points as Mahindra pulled away late and never threatened again.
“It’s about our defense. We need to control our perimteter players and make sure their role players ma-limit din namin,” Mahindra coach Chito Victolero said.
While Romeo had 41 points for Globalport, Pringle and Yeo combined for only 16 points on 6-for-21 shooting.
“It’s a total team effort. Before our preparation we worked on our consistency. Yun ang problem namin. We kept fighting but we can’t finish games. We had close games pwede namin manalo pero dahil sa inconsistency natatalo kami. Everybody stepped up,” Victolero added.
Seven players scored in double-digits for Mahindra, led by Canaleta’s 20. Revilla added 17 points, four rebounds, and five assists while DiGregorio and Dehesa had 14 and 12, respectively.
The Batang Pier were without Jay Washington, who was suffering from flu.
The Mahindra Enforcers (1-0) next face the Blackwater Elite (0-1) on Sunday, February 14 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. The Globalport Batang Pier (0-1), on the other hand, face the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel on the same day.
Mahindra (111) – Canaleta 20, Revilla 17, DiGregorio 14, Dehesa 11, Yee 11, Gilchrist 10, Guinto 10, Ramos 9, Pinto 5, Jaime 3.
Globalport (98) – Romeo 41, Williams 13, Pringle 12, Mamaril 9, Jensen 6, Taha 6, Yeo 4, Semerad 3, Kramer 2, Sumang 2.
Quarterscores: 31-23, 60-47, 82-76, 111-98.