by Jonas Terrado
Nico Elorde hit a go-ahead triple while Stanley Pringle’s hustle led to a crucial stop as GlobalPort snapped defending champion San Miguel’s three-game winning streak with a 98-94 victory in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Elorde’s open three from the left elbow gave the Batang Pier a 95-92 lead, 48.1 seconds remaining, even as Pringle deflected Arwind Santos’ high inbound pass two possessions later before diving for the ball to feed Mo Tautuaa for a breakaway transition layup that made it 97-94 with 20 ticks left.
The two plays allowed GlobalPort to complete a determined comeback from a 12-point third quarter deficit while playing sans import Malcolm White in the final 8:09 due to a second technical foul. The Batang Pier moved to fifth place in the standings with an even 4-4 record.
“Motivation sa amin yung pagkawala ni Malcolm White,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio. “Positive talaga for us ang pagkawala niya dahil yun ang nagbigay ng energy sa ibang players kaya this is a big win for us.”
Pringle had 22 points, six rebounds, eight assists and three steals despite coming off a stint representing the Philippines in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup while Elorde finished with six points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Batang Pier.
White scored 25 points but was tossed after getting a technical for a second motion, hitting Renaldo Balkman with a forearm as the SMB import was converting a layup. White got a first T in the second quarter for continuous complaining. GlobalPort refused to waver despite White’s ejection as Pringle played as if he had not played in the 3×3 World Cup, scoring layups and setting up assists for teammates.
It was Pringle who fed Elorde for the crucial three when he drew all five Beermen on a penetration and then found the former Ateneo guard open with the game tied at 92-all.
The Beermen had two chances to reclaim the driver seat as Balkman scored two free throws and blocked Pringle’s layup on the ensuing possession. But Pringle came through with the defensive play by intercepting Santos’ pass intended for Alex Cabagnot, leading to Tautuaa’s basket and a three-point Batang Pier advantage.
Balkman, who scored 33 points, lost the ball as he was driving to the hoop after Tautuaa’s basket, thus giving GlobalPort a big win.
June Mar Fajardo posted 20 points and eight rebounds while Cabagnot added 19 points but the Beermen dropped to 3-4.
GlobalPort 98 – White 25, Pringle 22, Anthony 11, Guinto 9, Tautuaa 8, Grey 7, Elorde 6, Teng 3, Nabong 3, Sargent 2, Javelona 2.
San Miguel 94 – Balkman 33, Fajardo 20, Cabagnot 19, Santos 10, Lassiter 6, Santos 6, Rosser 0, Heruela 0, Pessumal 0, Standhardinger 0.
Quarters: 23-27, 47-51, 71-79, 98-94.