The GlobalPort Batang Pier cruised to victory against the Meralco Bolts in their first assignment in the new Governor’s Cup conference, 92-73, to jump start their campaign on a winning note held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Meralco made a good start offensively, doubling GlobalPort’s score, capped by a wide open John Wilson triple to make it 10-5, four minutes into the ball game. The lead extended to as high as eight for the Bolts, with their reinforcement Andre Emmett, who made his presence felt early. However, that was the last taste of the lead for Meralco as Terrence Romeo started to heat up in favor of GlobalPort. They finished the quarter on a 9-2 rampage sealed by a triple by Omer Krayem to snatch the lead at the end of 12 minutes of action.
Emmett scored the opening baskets in the second quarter to counter GlobalPort’s long distance baskets that widened the gap between the two teams. Emmett scored his team’s first seven markers but they were down by five at 31-26 halfway through the second period. With the Bolts playing zone, the defensive setup was quickly busted by the Batang Pier’s shooters led by Romeo and Josef Taha to extend GlobalPort’s separation against the Bolts. GlobalPort outscored their opponents, 24-15 in the second to lead by double digits heading into the locker rooms.
The two teams traded baskets at the start of the second half which went in favor of the still-leading Batang Pier. O’Bryant and Denok Miranda both made a layup to aid GlobalPort reinstall a double-digit gap, 55-43 with over seven minutes to play in the third. After Emmet sparked a mini-rally to trim the lead down to five, GlobalPort’s defense limited the run, capped by a Mark Isip putback to keep distance against the Bolts.
Meralco outscored GlobalPort, 9-5 in the fourth quarter to trim the gap down to eight at 74-66. After minutes of inconsistent scoring for GlobalPort, they halted their fourth quarter slump with a fast break layup by Terrence Romeo from a long outlet pass by O’Bryant. They reestablished a 79-66 lead with 5:55 to play. As fatigue and frustration began to settle in, Andre Emmett muffed two potential lead-slicing free throws while hitting nothing but air on his next attempt. Afterwhich, Romeo knocked down a floater to make it a 14-point game, providing the dagger to the ball game.
Romeo had 27 points despite needing 24 shots for it. However, he shot a stellar 5 out of 7 from downtown while also grabbing six boards and dishing out five dimes. Krayem added 18 points and eight rebounds for GlobalPort.
Emmett was the lone bright spot for Meralco all game long as he tallied 41 huge points while making 21 out of 29 from the foul stripe. Aside from his scoring juggernaut was 13 boards and five assists to complete his statline. However, the next top scorer for his squad was Reynel Hugnatan who finished with only seven points to lead the locals for Meralco.
GlobalPort will look for its second victory of the new conference against Blackwater on Friday, May 8 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. On the other hand, Meralco’s next assignment will be up against San Miguel Beermen on Saturday
GlobalPort (92) – Romeo 27, Krayem 18, O’Bryant 15, Buenafe 10, Jensen 10, Miranda 5, Isip 4, Taha 3, Kramer 0, Mamaril 0, Ponferada 0
Meralco (73) – Emmett 41, Hugnatan 7, Wilson 5, David 5, Hodge 4, Ferriols 4, Cortez 3, Anthony 2, Sena 2, Atkins 0, Ildefonso 0, Caram 0, Guevarra 0, Macapagal 0
Quarterscores: 21-19, 45-34, 69-57, 92-73
*Photo from PBA Images