PBA: Globalport eliminates Alaska, faces Ginebra in playoffs


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MANILA, Philippines – The battle for the 8th place between Globalport Batang Pier and Alaska Aces in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup became too intense and gave the fans a real value for their money. After 48 minutes of quality basketball, Terrence Romeo and the rest of the Batang Pier are now playoffs bound against the crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra after eliminating Calvin Abueva and the Alaska Aces, 107-106 on Sunday, June 4.

Globalport eliminates Alaska, faces Ginebra in playoffs
Terrence Romeo to the rescue! The league’s best scorer drained couple of treys for the win. Image courtesy of Rappler.
It was all or nothing for both Alaska Aces and Globalport Batang Pier prior to their do-or-die match-up for the 8th and final playoff spot which will start tomorrow.

Gilas Pilipinas hustle player Calvin Abueva knew that there will be no more tomorrow if they lose this game so he must sacrifice everything even his body just to protect every ball and possession. He banged bodies with fellow Gilas cager Terrence Romeo and Stanley Pringle that resulted to an early 9-point lead for the Aces.

The ever lethal, Terrence Romeo tried to match the offensive intensity of Calvin Abueva to close the gap. But Abueva kept on adding digits under his name every time Batang Pier made a basket.

It looked like that the basketball gods were with Alaska’s side for the opening period at least, that even the tough-angled-shots were dropping in.

Before the first quarter had ended, former Ateneo Eagle Von Pessumal and newcomer Sean Anthony scored the last 6 points for Globalport and closed the period 26-20.

After a very hot start, the Aces suddenly froze and let the Batang Pier evened the game 26 apiece at the start of the second. Mike Cortez provided spark for his team from the outside and cost Coach Alex Compton a timeout. Coach Compton’s call for a break however, was put to waste as Globalport finally took the lead right after it.

First quarter sleepers Justin Harper and Stanley Pringle got their rhythm back and initiated the onslaught to increase the lead to 9 midway of the second.

Both squads knew what at stake in winning this game. Before the 2-minute warning of the 1st half, Calvin Abueva and import Cory Jefferson made a scoring run to trim the lead to just a half-shot. Terrence Romeo however denied the Aces of a comeback and headed to the locker room with a 52-49 lead.

7 Teams had already assured of playoff spots with Barangay Ginebra and San Miguel Beermen taking the 1 and 2 positions respectively together with Star Hotshots, TNT Katropa, Meralco Bolts, Rain or Shine Elasto Painter and Phoenix Fuel Masters.

Terrence Romeo started the third waxing hot and tallied his 15th point at the 7th-minute mark. Although, both teams started the second half slow. 6 full minutes had gone by and the scoreboard just barely moved, 63-59, still in favor of Globalport.

The game was tied at 65 all with 3 more minutes remaining in the third until Chris Banchero connected from the 16-foot line to regain the lead. The Fil-American guard had silently posted his dozen points behind Cory Jefferson and Calvin Abueva’s 21 markers.

Cory Jefferson ended the third with a slam for a 4-point, 78-74 lead.

Cory Jefferson is one of the few original imports together with Justin Brownlee and Charles Rhodes who are battling out for the Best Import of the conference award. Jefferson started the commissioner’s cup in high note but it slowly died down as his team continued its losing streak. Alaska prior to this knockout game had 7 loses and just 4 wins.

The story of the game revolved around the defensive strategies of Coach Alex Compton and Coach Franz Pumaren that can be a preview of how interesting their match could be against Coach Tim Cone in the playoffs.

As the game clock winded down, the players began to push the ball hard to basket. Alaska, led by Abueva and Jefferson inflicted damages to Globalport while Pringle kept fighting back and hoped to get an aid from his teammates to prolong their conference.

Terrence Romeo responded to Stanley Pringle’s plea and hit a most-needed three pointer for another deadlock, 97 all.

2:30 remaining in the ball game and Alaska reached the century mark courtesy of Calvin Abueva’s power play and split charity from Kevin Racal. But out of nowhere, Terrence Romeo hit a trey and cherish the momentary lead until Chris Banchero stole it back with an open lay-up. 1:30 left, Alaska was up by just 1, 102-101.

Stanley Pringle was fouled by Cory Jefferson at the 0:30 mark of the final period for the 103-102 lead. Calvin Abueva broke Bradwyn Guinto’s defense for a sure floater and retook the lead with 28 more ticks remaining in the clock. Abueva’s shot gave him his 31st point of the game.

Coach Franz drew their final play and assigned Terrence Romeo to take the shot. Romeo confidently held the ball and melted the play clock before sniping from the outside for the kill, 106-104. Calvin Abueva had the chance to tie the game but failed. Justin Harper got fouled but missed 1 of his 2 foul shots that could’ve given them the assurance of winning the game with 4 points.

Alaska had 3 more seconds to level the game but Simon Enciso missed from the corner three, Ping Exciminiano grabbed the rebound and made a basket underneath. However, Alaska needed 3 points to send the game into overtime. As the buzzer sounded, Alaska officially gave Globalport the 8th seed.

Terrence Romeo as expected won the Best Player of the Game with 26 big points, 5 boards and 3 assists.

Globalport Batang Pier will face the top-seeded Barangay Ginebra which has the twice-to-beat advantage on Tuesday.

--Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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