MANILA, Philippines – From the brink of a massive upset victory, the GlobalPort Batang Pier found itself reeling to a painful 104-97 defeat against Barangay Ginebra in the 2017-18 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Even though they were playing without star guard Terrence Romeo, the Batang Pier more than held their own against the Gin Kings. With Sean Anthony waxing hot and Stanley Pringle submitting an all-around performance, GlobalPort built a nine-point advantage, 77-68, entering the final frame.
They still led 91-86 midway through the fourth quarter after Anthony knocked down a three-pointer, but the Batang Pier fell apart defensively in crunch time.
GlobalPort gave up easy buckets inside the paint for Ginebra's Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar, who completed a three-point play with 2:21 left that put the Gin Kings ahead for good, 98-96.
More defensive breakdowns followed, with Aljon Mariano and Scottie Thompson wriggling free for lay-ups that ended GlobalPort's chances of coming back in the final minutes.
"We made mistakes on defense," GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio said bluntly after the game.
The coach noted that Ginebra's comeback started when they gave up a wide-open three-pointer to LA Tenorio at the corner with just over five minutes left.
"Sa ball screen, we doubled na hindi naman kailangan i-double," Jarencio said as he explained why Tenorio was able to break free for the big shot.
"Si Japeth, he got the ball for the three-point play. On our plays, we're not hitting our shots," he added.
As a result, Ginebra outscored GlobalPort, 9-1, in the final two minutes and 47 seconds of the ball game.
"Dapat consistent kami," said Jarencio. "Siguro, it's a lesson learned."
The loss dropped GlobalPort to 0-2 in the All-Filipino Cup heading into a showdown with Rain or Shine on Friday at the Mall of Asia Arena. They lost to NLEX in their first game of the conference on Christmas Day.
Despite the disappointing results, Jarencio said their team remains upbeat.
"Mahaba pa 'yan, marami pang laro," said Jarencio. "We just played two playoff teams in NLEX and Ginebra. For sure, basta maging consistent lang kami. We have to play consistent basketball not just for 45 minutes, but 48 minutes."
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