MANILA, Philippines – Not even jetlag could stop Barako Bull's new import from leading the Energy past defending champions Petron Blaze Boosters in their PBA Governor's Cup game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Friday.
LeRoy Hickerson, who endured a 36-hour flight shortly before the game, towed Barako Bull to a come-from-behind 111-107 win over Petron.
“He just arrived in the morning, then we had walked through of some of the plays before he went to the Games and Amusement Board to get his license,” narrated Barako Bull coach Junel Baculi in PBA.ph.
“In the afternoon, he went to the PBA office for the measurement procedure. It was a busy day for him, that’s why, before the game, his eyes were red. Still, LeRoy was able to help us. It’s a good thing he knew some of the guys in our team and some of the players in Petron, so his adjustment wasn’t that difficult,” added Baculi.
Hickerson easily adjusted to the Filipino style of play, tallying 32 points, 8 rebounds and 7 assists in the process.
The import also allowed several locals to step up, particularly Willie Miller, Doug Kramer and Ronald Tubid.
Miller scored 16 points while Tubid finished with 17. Doug Kramer had 17 points and 10 rebounds, his biggest numbers since he was traded to the Energy.
Hickerson and his back-ups helped Barako crawl out from a 14 point-deficit in the second quarter, 60-46.
But it was the Energy import who orchestrated Barako’s come-from-behind win.
After a costly miss by Jay Washington, Hickerson assisted Tubid for a fastbreak lay-up then blocked Eddie Basden’s strong drive to set Miller up for split charities at the other end.
In Petron’s last hurrah, Hickerson immediately got the ball after Washington missed a three-point attempt.
The victory was Barako’s second in 4 games.
Barako Bull 111 -- Hickerson 32, Tubid 17, Kramer 17, Miller 16, Najorda 10, Allado 9, Weinstein 3, Pennisi 3, Cervantes 2, Gatumbato 2, Sharma 0, Cruz 0.
Petron Blaze 107 -- Basden 23, Washington 23, Lutz 16, Cabagnot 12, Yeo 8, Santos 8, Ildefonso 8, Pena 7, Miranda 2, Reyes 0.
Quarterscores: 30-34, 52-64, 84-91, 111-107