MANILA, Philippines – PBA newcomer GlobalPort finally notched its first win in the Philippine Cup with a 105-104 edging of Meralco on Wednesday.
Winless in 3 games, the Batang Pier mounted a huge comeback from a 14-point deficit en route to their breakthrough win.
Willie Miller topscored GlobalPort with 33 points.
GlobalPort's Willie Miller drives past Meralco's Solomon Mercado on Wednesday's PBA Philippine Cup. The Batang Pier edged the Bolts, 105-104, for their first win in the conference. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
Rookies Jason Deutchman, Vic Manuel and AJ Mandani also came up with crucial plays during crunch time and their efforts paid huge dividends.
"I'm happy we won this," said GlobalPort coach Glenn Capacio in PBA.ph.
"Malaking bagay sa mga players ito kasi nga ang morale medyo down. Siguro mag-iiba na pakiramdam ng mga players going to our fifth game."
But Capacio was unaware of the happenings off-court as the Meralco coaching staff fall prey to theft during the game.
A thief ransacked the belongings of Meralco coach Ryan Gregorio, assistant coach Ronnie Magsanoc and Xavier Nunag.
The total loot was reported to be around P200,000.
The theft was discovered when the Bolts went into the dugout staring at a 48-52 half time deficit.
Meralco was gunning for its third straight victory against GlobalPort.
Sol Mercado and Ronjay Buenafe tallied 30 points each, but their efforts went to vain when Deutchman hit a triple to give the Batang Pier the upperhand, 100-99, with 1:13 minutes left.
Mandani followed it up with a drive and a free throw shot to give GlobalPort a 103-99 advantage, 17 seconds left.
Ronjay Buenafe’s triple brought the Bolts within 1 point, but GlobalPort’s Rabeh Al-Hussaini sank 2 charities to make it 105-102 with 4.5 seconds left.
Mercado had the chance to tie the game for the Bolts with a triple but went for an uncontested layup instead.
This led to the Batang Pier’s first win.
"I thought we were down by two," said Mercado.
GlobalPort 105 - Miller 33, Deutchman 20, Al-Hussaini 17, Mandani 12, Manuel 6, Guevarra 6, Yee 5, Vanlandingham 4, Salvador 2, Lingganay 0, Cruz 0, Antonio 0.
Meralco 104 - Mercado 30, Buenafe 30, Hodge 15, Reyes 7, Nabong 6, Hugnatan 5, Artadi 4, Salvacion 3, Belencion 2, Cardona 2, Bulawan 0, Borboran 0, Sharma 0.
Quarterscores: 25-25, 52-48, 76-87, 105-104