GLOBALPORT Batang Pier, parading a new import and local players, fashioned out an afternoon upset yesterday, taking down top-echelon team Meralco Bolts, 94-86, in Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Commissioner’s Cup action at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Now bannered by Justin Harper and featuring Sean Anthony, Jonathan Grey and Bradwyn Guinto in its fold, GlobalPort played with added bounce to infuse some spark to its “timid” campaign in the mid-season PBA tournament while halting erstwhile on-a-roll Meralco.
The two teams engaged in a nip-and-tuck affair in the opening half, not allowing each other out of the sight of one another.
Batang Pier claimed the opening quarter, 26-25, before doing just enough to remain on top at the halftime break, 43-42.
GlobalPort opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run to take a 54-45 lead in the first four minutes.
Meralco though would counter with a 14-5 blitz of its own in the next five minutes to tie the knot at 59-all.
The Bolts completed the reversal in the period by outscoring the Batang Pier in the windup, 6-2, to seize the lead 65-61 at the end of the third frame.
In the fourth period, the two teams went back and forth, answering everything they threw at one another.
The score was levelled at 81-all with less than four minutes left before GlobalPort strung together six points after to create some separation, 87-81.
Meralco managed to come within three, 89-86, with 55 seconds left.
It would not come nearer than that however as GlobalPort hung tough and preserve the win.
Mr. Harper, GlobalPort’s third import after Sean Williams and Malcolm White, top-scored for GlobalPort in his PBA debut with 30 points to go along with nine rebounds and three blocks.
Mr. Anthony had 17 points and eight boards while Stanley Pringle had 16 markers, seven rebounds and eight assists.
Meralco, which saw its three-game winning streak halted, was paced by Alex Stepheson with 19 points and 27 rebounds.
“We have been going after Justin for a while now and good thing he finally agreed to join us. I always believe that we needed a scoring import in the tournament and that is what he is. He gives us another dimension,” said GlobalPort coach Franz Pumaren of his new import who arrived only yesterday morning.
“As far as our new acquisitions, I think they are the kind of players that GlobalPort needs right now. Sean, Jonathan and Bradwyn were part of my wish list at the start and I’m happy we got them,” the coach added.
The Batang Pier (3-6) return to action on May 26 versus the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters while the Bolts (7-2) play Star on May 24.
After yesterday’s league fixtures, which had the Star Hotshots and TNT KaTropa colliding in the main game, the PBA takes another weeklong break to give way to the SEABA Championship that is taking place from May 12-18 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.