MANILA, Philippines – Terrence Romeo exploded for a season-high 35 points to help the GlobalPort Batang Pier hold off the Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings, 91-84, in their 2016-17 PBA Philippine Cup game on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Romeo scored 21 of his 35 points in the second half, and 15 in the fourth quarter, as the Batang Pier weathered a third-quarter rally by the Gin Kings to improve to 3-1.
They are now tied with defending champion San Miguel and idle Rain or Shine at the top of the league standings. Ginebra dropped to 1-2 in the conference, failing to build on their victory over the Elasto Painters last Sunday.
"It's a good win for us," said GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren. "I think my team is slowly maturing. As we all know, we crumbled against Alaska (an 84-95 loss last Wednesday), but what a way to bounce back."
"I think slowly, we're really embracing the fact that for us to be competitive in the PBA, we need to play good defense, which we showed today," he added.
After a tight first quarter, GlobalPort outscored Ginebra, 30-14, in the second period, and Romeo and Stanley Pringle combined for 26 points in the first half to give the Batang Pier a 53-36 lead over the Gin Kings heading into the halftime break. Ginebra was down by as much as 18 points, 26-44, in the second quarter after a jumper by Pringle.
However, Ginebra came alive in the third quarter, leaning on Japeth Aguilar and LA Tenorio to bring them back into the game.
The Gin Kings opened the third frame on a 19-5 run that turned what was once a comfortable lead into a one-possession game, 58-55, with still 4:57 left to play. It did not help that the Batang Pier could not defend without fouling. They were in penalty with still 7:22 to go in the quarter and Ginebra shot a total of 15 free throws in the frame.
"I mentioned that to the players. We don't want a flat start (in the third quarter), we don't want the crowd to get involved," said Pumaren. "It's a good thing we were able to regroup and weather the storm."
A floater by Tenorio with 1:13 to go tied the game at 65, but Romeo drained a triple to push his team ahead by three points anew. It turned out to be the start of a 7-0 run bridging the third and fourth quarters, and GlobalPort again seized the upper hand, 72-65, with 8:57 left.
Romeo proved unstoppable in the fourth quarter, as he torched every defender that Ginebra put on him. His three-pointer with 3:27 left made it a 10-point game, 87-77, and his dagger with 45 seconds to go put the game out of reach, 91-82.
"Terrence is a different breed," said Pumaren. "He's really talented, but right now if you look at the way he plays, he's playing aggressive defense, he's moving the ball, and he's passing the ball."
Romeo had two rebounds, two assists, and two steals on top of his 35 points. JR Quiñahan scored 15 points, while Pringle finished with 12 points, five boards, and four assists for the Batang Pier.
Aguilar and Tenorio finished with 23 points each, with the latter also adding eight assists. Sophomore guard Scottie Thompson had four points, 10 rebounds, and six assists, but the Gin Kings shot themselves in the foot by committing 20 turnovers, which GlobalPort converted into 21 points.
GLOBALPORT 91 - Romeo 35, Quinahan 15, Pringle 12, Canaleta 10, Mamaril 6, Cortez 6, Urbiztondo 3, Pennisi 2, Maierhofer 2, Semerad 0, Pessumal 0.
GINEBRA 84 - Aguilar 23, Tenorio 23, Devance 9, Mariano 8, Cruz 6, Mercado 5, Thompson 4, Caguioa 2, Ellis 2, Taha 2, Ferrer 0, Helterbrand 0.
Quarter scores: 23-22, 53-36, 68-65, 91-84
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