By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
GLOBALPORT Batang Pier’s campaign in the Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup continues after they staved off elimination with a gutsy 114-113 victory over top-seeded Rain or Shine Elasto Painters in their quarterfinal pairing on Tuesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Carrying a twice-to-win disadvantage, GlobalPort dug deep in the end game to emerge on top and force Rain or Shine to a win-it-all match on Thursday.
GlobalPort got to early lead to start the contest, building a 7-1 lead.
But Rain or Shine would charge back after, led by Raymond Almazan and Ed Daquioag.
A triple from Mr. Daquioag with 3:40 left in the opening period handed the lead for the first time to the Elasto Painters, 16-15, before they moved on to complete the reversal, 26-24, at the end of the first 12 minutes.
Sean Anthony would spearhead GlobalPort’s push to gain back some ground at the beginning of the second canto but Rain or Shine continually found ways to keep it at a distance.
The count stood at 47-42 with over three minutes left and Rain or Shine on top.
A back-and-forth ensued thereafter with the Elasto Painters eventually settling for a 60-52 advantage, thanks to back-to-back triples from Chris Tiu and James Yap as the seconds ticked away, at the halftime break.
In the third quarter, import Malcolm White started humming for the Batang Pier, towing his team to within two points, 70-68, in the first six minutes.
He was to countered, however, by counterpart Reggie Johnson, who scored six straight points in the next minute to give Rain or Shine more breathing space, 76-69.
It was a separation it capitalized on as Rain or Shine built a 91-83 lead the rest of the way and heading into the final canto.
Recognizing that their campaign could well be down to the final 12 minutes, the Batang Pier did not waste much time making their move.
A triple by Mo Tautuaa at the 9:39 mark tied the score at 91-all.
But Rain or Shine would steady its ship, going on an 14-7 run in the next four minutes to establish a 105-98 advantage.
GlobalPort though was not to go down sans a fight, led by Jonathan Grey it tied the knot at 108-all with 2:21 remaining.
Both teams scrambled to establish control for the remaining time.
A split on the charity stripes by Maverick Ahanmisi with 16 ticks to go gave Rain or Shine a 113-111 lead.
But Mr. Grey would answer back with a triple five seconds later to hand GlobalPort the lead back, 114-113.
Rain or Shine tried to salvage the win but the three-point attempt of Gabe Norwood and putback by Mr. Johnson failed to connect as time expired.
Mr. White led GlobalPort with 28 points and 16 rebounds while Mr. Grey had 22.
Stanley Pringle, meanwhile, finished with a near triple-double of 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Mr. Johnson led Rain ir Shine with 24 points while Mr. Almazan had 17.
“Credit to the players for working hard to get this victory, especially when Malcolm got into foul trouble. We just stayed the course and thankfully we got the win. The next game will be even,” said GlobalPort coach Pido Jarencio after their win.
The do-or-die between Rain or Shine and GlobalPort will be played at the Mall of Asia Arena.