Boosters rain triples on Energy, rally to take Game 1

By Nelson Beltran, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 21 2014 10:29 PM | Updated as of Jan 22 2014 05:04 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Petron Blaze found its range in the fourth quarter, bombarding Barako Bull with huge 3-point missiles in a decisive attack carrying the Boosters to a come-from-behind 101-88 win in Game One of their PLDT MyDSL PBA Philippine Cup best-of-three quarterfinals showdown at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Tuesday night.

Petron center Jun Mar Fajardo makes a move in the post against Dorian Pena of Barako Bull. Photo by Nuki Sabio, PBA Images.

Marcio Lassiter, Alex Cabagnot and Chris Lutz combined for six treys to highlight a vicious 29-4 run Petron unleashed in the payoff period to turn the game around and claim the decisive head start in the short series.

Stopping the Energy Cola’s own hot shooting early on, the Boosters, the playoffs third seeds, now have two chances to wrap up the series – in Game Two Friday or Game Three, if necessary, Sunday.

Lassiter, barely back from a brief US trip where he attended the wake of his grandmother, dished out a spirited game at the finish, anchoring Petron’s 34-15 pounding of Barako in the payoff period.

The 6-foot-2 Fil-Am forward scored 13 of his 17 points in the last quarter – nine from the three-point area.

“He just planed in from the States and gave us a very good contribution,” said Petron coach Gee Abanilla.

Cabagnot and Arwind Santos also finished with 17 points while Junmar Fajardo, Lutz and Chris Ross added 15, 14 and 10, respectively, for the Boosters who struggled early on, trailing by 12 at 35-47 late in the first half.

The Energy Cola were still in command at 78-71 before Lassiter hit a three-pointer, Lutz scored on a daring drive then Lassiter fired away another trey to spark Petron’s rip-roaring finish.

“I want to give a lot of credit to Barako. They showed up today. They hit a lot of tough shots,” said Abanilla. “But we clamped down on defense later and got our shots in the second half.”

In their initial salvo, the Boosters scored 17 unanswered points to zoom ahead at 88-78.

Dorian Pena scored underneath to break their long silence but Cabagnot answered with a trey then Fajardo connected on a jumper as Petron created further distance, 93-80, entering the last three minutes of play.

Barako Bull was 6-of-15 from beyond the arc while Petron converted only one of 10 tries as the Energy Cola took the half at 49-42.

Ronnjay Buenafe nailed his third trey as Barako enjoyed its first double-digit spread at 40-30 while JC Intal knocked in his second triple as the Energy Cola led by 12, 47-35, late in the second quarter.

Lutz took a steal and scored on a breakaway jam as Petron narrowed the gap to seven at the turn.