Batang Pier strike, bring down Beermen

GLOBALPORT puts up a double-teaming defense as San Miguel Beer’s June Mar Fajardo goes for an under-goal shot during their PBA Commissioner’s Cup tussle on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena. PBA Images

PLAYING all-Filipino in the last eight minutes, Globalport bested San Miguel Beer in a tough battle in the stretch to reinforce its playoff bid with a 98-94 win on Wednesday in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The victory which came at the heels of back-to-back losses became apparent only after the Batang Pier got a couple of breaks in the last 48 seconds of the game.

Nico Elorde sank a huge triple with 48 seconds remaining, enabling the Batang Pier to shatter a 92-all deadlock forged earlier by June Mar Fajardo, and take a 95-92 lead.

Renaldo Balkman attacked the basket but drew a foul from Mo Tautuaa, his two freethrows moving the Beermen at 95-94, with 37 seconds left.

The Beermen earned a big crack at grabbing the lead as Fajardo grabbed the rebound following Stanley Pringle’s missed drive. SMB opted to sue for time to design a play.

The Beermen though were unfortunate as Pringle initiated a steal near the mid-court after the inbound, paving the way for a big Tautuaa basket, 97-94.

The Beermen still had 19 seconds to work out a play, either a triple or a quick two pointer.

But the Beermen accomplished nothing, with Balkman losing the ball as he tried to attack the basket at the baseline. With that big flop also ended the Beermen’s bid to turn the game around.

Elorde then baited a foul from Marcio Lassiter in the ensuing play but split his charities for what stood in the final tally.

The Batang Pier, who played all-Filipino in the fourth period after Malcolm White was ejected with 8:09 remaining on two technical fouls, rebounded from back-to-back losses and clinched their fourth win in eight outings that propelled them to the upper half of the standings.

The Beermen, on the other hand, absorbed their first loss after racking up three straight victories and their fourth overall in eight games.

It was a sorry loss for the Beermen who controlled the game most of the way.

Although they were in control, the Beermen only got to build double-digit lead at 67-55 midway in the third after a 10-2 run highlighted by Fajardo’s back-to-back baskets.

But the Beermen really can’t seem to pull away as the Batang Pier just kept coming back. The Batang Pier were able to trim the SMB lead to just 74-67, late in the third.

The Beermen were still on the lead at 83-76 early in the fourth but the Batang Pier tied it at 86-all on Elorde’s basket with 5:10 remaining.

Two more deadlocks ensued after that – at 90-all and 92-all – before Elorde delivered the dagger triple to put the Batang Pier on top for good, 95-92.

A triple by Alex Cabagnot followed by Chris Ross’ basket had the Beermen posting a 40-31 lead midway in the second quarter, but the Batang Pier quickly worked to wipe it out and grab the lead, 46-45, on White’s basket.

Balkman wrested the lead for the Beermen with a three-point play for a 51-47 lead at the turn.

The scores:

GlobalPort (98) – White 25, Pringle 22, Anthony 11, Guinto 9, Tautuaa 8, Grey 7, Elorde 6, Teng 3, Nabong 3, Sargent 2, Javelona 2.

San Miguel (94) – Balkman 33, Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Santos 10, Lassiter 6, Santos 6, Rosser 0, Heruela 0, Pessumal 0, Standhardinger 0.

Quarters: 23-27, 47-51, 71-79, 98-94