SURVIVING a very tough first test in their Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal assignment, the GlobalPort Batang Pier have grown more determined to continue making heads turn and complete an upset.
Defeated top seeds Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, 114-113, in the first game of their quarterfinal pairing on Tuesday, which effectively threw out of the window the paint masters’ twice-to-beat advantage, eighth-seeded GlobalPort sees no reason why they should stop now in their giant-slaying ways.
Delivering in the clutch, particularly gunner Jonathan Grey, the Batang Pier forced a sudden death set for today at 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena to determine who between them and the Elasto Painters advance to the next round.
Down by seven points, 105-98, with five minutes to go in the game, Rain or Shine would find a determined GlobalPort crew charging back strong after.
Led by Mr. Grey, GlobalPort tied the knot at 108-all with 2:21 remaining. Both teams scrambled to establish control for the remaining time.
A split on the charity stripe by Maverick Ahanmisi with 16 ticks to go gave Rain or Shine a 113-111 lead.
But Mr. Grey would answer back with a clutch triple five seconds later to hand GlobalPort the lead back, 114-113.
Rain or Shine tried to salvage the win but the three-point attempt of Gabe Norwood and putback by import Reggie Johnson failed to connect as time expired, sending the Batang Pier and their fateful to celebration.
“Credit to the players for working hard to get this victory, especially when [import] Malcolm [White] got into foul trouble. We just stayed the course and thankfully we got the win,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio after the win.
“I think it’s God’s will that we won. On Thursday [for Game Two] it is going to be even, 1-1. It will be a battle of attrition. It’s a do-or-die game. We want to advance and we will just do our job and play the best we can,” added Mr. Jarencio.
Meanwhile, unlike GlobalPort, the Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok failed to extend their quarterfinal matchup with the Alaska Aces after losing, 89-79, also on Tuesday.
Carrying a twice-to-win handicap as well, the seventh-seeded Hotshots tried to make one last run in the end game but just could not complete it, eventually handing the semifinal ticket to the Aces. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo